Making a Wrong Leadership Decision Right
How do you make a wrong leadership decision, right? We all make mistakes. The challenge is how do we handle them? Consider:
- How do you act?
- Who do you tell? How do you react?
- How do you communicate? What steps do you take to correct your mistake?
- What mistakes do you make in the meantime?
- How quickly do you come to terms with the error of your ways?
- Are you quick to blame or do you resort to shame? How often do you make the same mistake more than once?
- How do you discover when you have gone wrong? How do you treat others when you are in the process of correcting yourself?
These questions matter. Your answers matter more. Too many leaders do not fess up, so they cover up and blame others. This causes more problems and mistakes. Classic examples include the smoking industries long disclaimer of the harmful effects of cigarettes. Or the National Football League’s denial of head injury problems in players. All too often managers in business undermine their effectiveness by their inability to deal with mistakes ethically.
Not too long ago, I stumbled across an article on Michael Hyatt’s blog called “The One Essential Habit of Every Effective Leader” by guest blogger, Jeff Goins. He had a sentence that struck gold – as he put it, “Leadership, as it turns out, is really the act of making intentional decisions and accepting responsibility for them.”
I could not agree more. Do what you need to do – own it. Furthermore, genuinely apologize as necessary. In addition, correct yourself as quickly as possible when you catch your mistakes, (or, when they are pointed out to you) and get on with the show. The reason the first six words of this sentence matter the most is because too many leaders are afraid of making mistakes, so they simply stop making decisions altogether. That strikes me as oddly ironic. Certainly, we all know things cannot get done when a leader stops taking the reins. Well, they can get done. However, but not as effectively, successfully, or efficiently as they can be done with a good leader navigating the way.
Pulling It All Together
As a leader, you will have to make tough decisions, determine close calls, pull out all the stops, and get down to business. Therefore, win or lose, it is essential we take responsibility, learn something, and then move on. Leadership is not made for the complacent. Most importantly, it is for the courageous – the bold – those with tenacity and audacity. So, what do you need to risk today to make decisions that will matter tomorrow?
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