A Five-Step Process to Recover From Mistakes

If you are a manager, you need your employees to know that you’re capable of handling your leadership position, and mistakes can threaten that image in an instant. But consider that protecting the image of being perfect or right all the time can be the biggest mistake leaders can make.
When mistakes are made, it’s not the mistake that employees will remember. It is how you handled and recovered from your mistake that people will remember the most. And, you can actually use this to your advantage. After all, you’re human, and people don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to stand up again and stand tall by taking the following actions:


 Admit your mistakes!

Dr. Thomas Gordon, author of Leader Effectiveness Training emphasises that leaders should be open and honest about the mistakes they make. Camouflaging mistakes, or worse, finding someone to blame will likely come back to bite them hard in the long run. Passing the blame is a sign of cowardice and immaturity. And finger pointing or making excuses does much more damage than good to character. A much better approach is to create a strategy and a system to prevent similar mistakes and share them with your team, using the entire fiasco as a learning experience.


Correct, Pause and Recover.

Once you identify your mistake, take control of it and employ your best resources to find a way to correct or reverse it as quickly as possible with the least amount of collateral damage. It may seem painful and embarrassing, but you will preserve the respect you’ve earned from your team when going through the process.
Learn from it.
Every mistake has a silver lining, no matter how bad, and it’s your job to find it. Share the cause and effect of the mistake with your team and list lessons learned. As a manager, one of the silver linings of making mistakes is that employees will be much more comfortable and less apprehensive about approaching you when they need to share the bad news of their own personal mistakes. Making mistakes reminds employees that you are human.

Keep it all in perspective.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that most things are not as bad as they first seem.

When employing the intellect and creativity of others to correct mistakes, you’ll be surprised with the level of insight and creativity presented in possible solutions.


Move forward.

 I remember a saying that if you keep your eye in the rear-view mirror, you will crash. In other words, once a solution is reached and implemented, return to life as normal. Dwelling doesn’t take anyone anywhere and can be very distracting.