There are few things in life I dislike more than making a bad decision. My Human Resources work allows me to deal with other’s bad decisions. But when they are mine, it’s a whole different story. I absolutely loathe making bad decisions.
IT’S ALL ABOUT ME
Now for a bit of self-disclosure…sometimes I like it when it’s all about me. But not when I’m the one who messed up. Not when others realize I’ve stumbled and am now reaching for a towel to wipe the egg off my face.
I really loathe making bad decisions.
BROODING IS NO FUN
The results of these decisions can stay with us. Sometimes, for a long time. Can you remember a decision you made as a child that you still regret today? (Yeah, me too – rock through the garage window – ouch!). Unfortunately for those of us in leadership we can not afford to allow our missteps to haunt us for very long. The reason is simple – our employees are watching, our peers are watching, our customers are watching. We are there to lead, not feel sorry for ourselves.
Replaying mistakes over and over in our minds will only destroy our concentration, and thus our ability to be effective. Mistakes are part of life, and demonstrate to those around us that we’re real people just like they are. The difference is how we handle our mistakes.
Dealing with mistakes involves reclaiming control. These three steps serve as the foundation for taking control back, and moving beyond our blunders.
1 Confront It
Do not shrink away from your mistake. Acknowledge it, define it, and understand whether or not you have any control. If you can not control what is happening now, LET IT GO. Stop dwelling on it, and move on.
2 Organize and Respond to What We Learned in Step 1
We can not change the past. We can not control what others think of us. However, we CAN control how we respond. And we certainly can do a great deal to affect the future. So define what you need to do to get back on track, and take action. Organizing our response in small (realistic) steps will dramatically increase the likelihood of success.
3 Believe You Will Get Past This
There is no special leadership magic here. Decide you can get past your mistake, accept the fact that you made an error, and move forward. No wallowing in self-pity allowed. (More self-disclosure -> that is hard for me to do.)
HOW ABOUT YOU
What decisions have you made that still haunt you? Are you ready to let them go and move forward? Or, do you glance around your office and greet those ghosts as you begin your day?
I’d love to hear from you.