How Great Leaders Make Things Right After They Blow It

Great leaders make it rightHow can you tell good leaders from great leaders? In the way they take ownership of their mistakes.

We’re all human. Even huge companies like Netflix or Apple have suffered from embarrassing leadership blunders. Leadership is so much more than managing the operational aspects of day-to-day issues and the crisis control that comes after major missteps. Great leaders acknowledge, address and learn from mistakes after they’ve occurred.

How you effectively (or ineffectively) handle missteps has a major impact on the team of people around you. Are you building trust by getting it right? OSS breaks down how great leaders make things right after they totally blow it:

  1. Acknowledge Your Mistake: Avoid playing the blame game and never try to cover up the mistake you made. Taking ownership of business blunders helps you gain trust from a vulnerable position and earns the respect of your team.
  2. Apologize Sincerely: Display your leadership in an open, honest and sincere way. Opening with an apology allows the opportunity for a constructive relationship to occur between colleagues. If a mistake affected customers, an apology can mean the difference between a lost client and an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction.
  3. Focus on Fixing the Folly: Whether your mistake was from an operational issue or a leadership-oriented direction, brainstorm with your team on a plan to make it better. Move forward together, and use your oversight as a reminder of what not to do.
  4. Use Your Mistake as Education: Not only can you learn from your mistake, but you can use it as an opportunity to teach others. Great leaders show their teams how they’ve learned and grown from mistakes along the journey to success.
  5. Follow Through: As a leader, the #1 thing you can do after a major mistake is to follow-through on your word and move beyond the mistake. An apology, plan, and learning experience is nothing without action.

How you handle your mistakes as a leader has a great impact on how successful you are in that leadership role. By following the steps above after a major slip-up, you can help cultivate a more self-aware culture, build trusting relationships, and be a better leader.