Own Your Mistakes Like a Pro
I like to handle mistakes quickly, and this process helps me make sure I’ve done so professionally and in a manner that gets attention:
1. Be humble, sincere, and transparent. Whether it’s big or small, once you realized you’ve made a mistake, don’t let it fester. The last thing you want is for someone else to point it out for you. Instead, own up to it on your own terms. When you officially apologize, be heartfelt, open, and personal. In many cases, you can’t apologize to each individual person, but you can identify triggers that make the apology more sincere.
2. Explain what happened and why. Whether the mistake is due to a decision you made or it came from an outside source, explain what happened (and why it happened) to everyone affected. Now is not the time to point fingers. People want to know you’ve taken the time to get to the root of the issue.
4. Spell out what you learned. Mistakes are great leaning opportunities, and when we don’t learn from them, we’re doomed to make them again. Find nuggets that you learned from your mistake, and let others know what they are.
5. Ensure your community it won’t happen again. Because you’ve learned from your mistake, you can take steps to ensure it won’t happen again. Tell your staff or your public audience what will happen the next time you’re faced with a similar situation and how you’ll handle it differently.
6. Move forward. If you dwell on your mistake, others will, too. Find a way to move on and incorporate the lesson you learned into your business.
Mistakes are a simple fact of life. But whether you make one internally or on a national scale, it’s important to fess up and explain how you’re going to make things right. Not only will it make you a more trusted leader, but it will also make you a better one.
About the Author: Sarah Clark is the president of Mitchell, an award-winning public relations firm that creates real conversations between people, businesses, and brands through strategic insights, customized conversations, and consumer engagement. The agency is headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with offices in Chicago and New York City.