Why it’s Important to Own Your Mistakes
Did you know 12 publishing houses turned JK Rowling down before Bloomsbury took her on? A pauper once, she’s now worth over $1billion. Decca Records turned down the Beatles too, saying, “The Beatles have no future in show business.”
That’s right. Mistakes happen. They can be costly, but there are two ways we can view a mistake, something that should be ignored and something that teaches us a lesson. You’ve seen both types. You can either have the employee who pretends nothing is amiss until it’s too late or you can have the people stand up and say, “I did it and I’m ready for the consequences.”
Admitting your mistakes; however, can have more positive benefits than negative. The mistake itself happened, what happens in its aftermath says a lot.
Admitting our mistakes will give us the following:
1. Trust from our employer
Managers, CEOs, and owners all made mistakes when they started out. When you admit you’ve made a mistake, they will trust you to tell the truth. This accountability will come to be relied on more than when someone hides the truth and fosters an environment of distrust.
2. You can fix the problem faster
Businesses can invest a lot of time and money into solving an issue. Knowing the problem already will help you fix it without wasting time. The impacts of the mistake will be reduced the faster you can rectify them.
3. Come back another day
When a company recognizes that mistakes aren’t the end of the world then it’s employees will have more trust in the company. The cyclical nature of forgiveness will let everyone benefit.
4. Stop the problem from happening again
Mistakes can be random, but they can also be caused by other factors. When we admit our mistakes, we can collectively determine whether those mistakes are structural in nature and destined to happen again.
5. Discover who are leaders
There is truth to the saying, “it isn’t about how you fall, but how you get up again.” The fall associated with a mistake can be embarrassing and career affecting. On the other hand, showing the honesty and integrity of owning up to your mistake makes an impression on others. How you deal with your mistakes will show you how to teach and lead others when they make their own mistakes.
6. Save the integrity of the company
It isn’t just your integrity at stake, but your employer’s. By owning up to your mistakes, you are publicly showing your consumers how you treat others and that they have value in your eyes.
How to admit your mistakes gracefully
Seeing the value in admitting your mistake and following through with it are two different things. When you are ready to proceed, here is a quick step by step guide to taking responsibility.
Step 1: Recognize the mistake.
It doesn’t matter if you are fully responsible or not. If you had a hand in the mistake, then you should be raising it to accept responsibility.
Step 2: Write it down your observations with a clear mind
Having an accurate incident report will help when determining your reprimand as well as inform the response team what happened.
Pro Tip: You should always have a notebook handy to write down your thoughts.
Step 3: Admit the mistake, but have options
Some employers don’t want to hear about problems, only solutions. You should have some options to try when you admit your mistake so it shows you are invested in the process.
Step 4: Be prepared to accept responsibility, reprimand, and other solutions.
You may get fired. The chances of that will be diminished when you take responsibility.
Step 5: Listen to others.
Someone else may have made the same mistake. Listening to them instead of blathering on may help you fix the problem before it gets out of hand.
Step 6: Don’t argue about the minutia.
Accept that you were wrong and move on. Arguing how it may not have been entirely your fault won’t help anyone.
Learn from the whole process so you don’t do it again
Making a mistake is emotional enough. Admitting it, can be unbearable. Some employees will opt to ignore the event, but that will often result in a compounding effect. It also tells your employer a lot about your integrity if you don’t admit your responsibility in the problem. Remember to take a minute or two to calm down so you don’t have your own emotions affecting you as you press the panic button.