Bouncing Back After Mistakes

In leadership, it is important to make things happen. That ultimately means that mistakes will occurAnd when they do, you most likely will feel a rush of panic or concern. But do you know what to do next? The mistake is not the problem. It’s generally the way we handle the mistake or that we repeat the mistake.

Here are a few tips to help you overtime your thoughts:

Own Up to Making the Mistake: 
The first step is to admit that you made a mistake. If you don’t own it, you cannot learn from it. And if you blame others, you will damage relationships. If you are a leader yourself, you need to set the example for others to follow. So, take a big breath and just admit it.  

 Think of Mistakes as a Chance to Grow: 
Think about the positive learning lessons you will gain from making the mistake. It helps you to have an experience you couldn’t draw on before. You can see this as an opportunity to improve and grow your skills. 

Let the Emotions Go: 
We tend to exaggerate things in our mind. Have you ever worried about something so much that it drives you crazy; only to find out that it never actually happens? Instead focus your mind on your next steps. If you can’t think straight, take a break. Go for a walk, talk to friends about non-work things. Get your mind off it for a bit of time. When you do come back to it, you will be in a better position to come up with positive actions.  


Take time to Rethink your approach: 
Considering why the mistake happened helps us to analyze if it was under our control or not. Perhaps we made a quick rash decision. Or maybe we debated for a long time before jumping in. Thinking about what was going on when you made the mistake allows you to see what you can do different next time. Take out a pen and write down your thoughts and options by answering the following questions: 
What went wrong? When did it go wrong? Why did it go wrong? What should have happened? 
This is particularly helpful if you are tossing and turning at night and can’t sleep. Getting out of bed and writing down what is on your mind and taking a few moments to write down next steps can help get if off your mind. You will be able to sleep better when you do.  


Put Your Lessons To Work: Think about the steps and processes you can put in place to prevent you from making the same mistake again not just for yourself but for others too. If you missed steps in a process, review it and adjust your checklist you will use next time. If you simply said something wrong or inappropriate, take the time to correct the statement or apologize. Discuss it with others and get their input. Together you can determine the skills, knowledge and tools you need to prevent the mistake in the future. This allows you and others to learn from it.