Last week I wrote about my leadership mistakes and it was commented that a follow-up might be useful. What do you really do when you make a mistake? As I write, I am given to think about some obvious examples from my own life.

Here’s some observations about mistakes…

Seeing our own mistakes and openly admitting to them is a whole lot easier than the often unsolicited evaluation we receive from others. That’s never comfortable but it happens a lot. It’s amazing how much we enjoy informing others of their mistakes while not necessarily inviting the same type of feedback in respect of our own performance, and how we might improve ourselves.

Everyone thinks they are more suited to the job, able to lead things better, make wiser decisions, handle things more effectively, when in reality, there’s will just be a different way of doing the same thing. Sometimes we just have to trust our leaders, other times we just have to help them, maybe even acknowledge we might be wrong and they might actually be right.

I acknowledge that my leadership mistakes may hurt you, but please know, that when you get it wrong, it hurts me.

When leaders get it wrong, people love to tell them and others about it. When those we lead get it wrong and hurt us, as good leaders, we can’t tell anyone.

9 things I’ve learned to do when I make a mistake:

Take a slice of humble pie – never tastes great but have learned to get an appetite for it
Smile nicely and listen – usually with my hands tightly clasped together behind my back, which stops me from waving them about when I want to respond
Reflect – is it true, is there something to learn from this, what action should I take?
Apologise – many times even if you are not wrong. Be the bigger person and say sorry and ask for forgiveness
Forgive – let it go, don’t hold a grudge. Not easy but very important
Be ready to change – become an even better leader
Learn to understand that everyone is different – after all, it’s always about people
Try and not say ’Stuff It’ and give up – don’t quit
Handle the consequences – often you just have to take the hit. I have come out of a mistake with some debt, a loss of trust, people leaving church, mess and rebuilding to be done. 

You can’t hide from the repercussions of a mistake, whatever it may look like. However, you can grow, learn, improve and gain trust once more and become a stronger, more credible leader. After all, God uses ALL things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

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