Would you rather die than admit you made a mistake?
It’s midnight and three hours have passed but you’re still tossing and turning on your bed. You know your alarm will ring in a few hours, but you don’t want it to. The thought of admitting, in front of your team, that you made a wrong decision is making you weak in the knees. The issue is too big so they’re bound to notice even if you hide it from them. Mistakes are part of our lives, no matter how trivial or challenging it is. The act of admitting your mistakes takes more than just valor and guts. Admitting your mistakes is your key to maturing as a leader. Why? Because it is a man’s natural tendency to point fingers or try to forget what happened. The maturity of a leader is a strong indicator of his ability to lead a team and the challenges that go with it. It also dictates your ability to succeed in client relationships and your personal life.
Why Swallowing the Bitter Pill of Your Mistakes Helps You Grow
1. Admitting Your Mistakes Strengthens Your Integrity
Owning up to your misjudgement builds integrity — your inner truth compass to doing good — even if no one is looking.
People’s inability to admit mistakes is sometimes born out of a defensive measure brought about by anxiety. Because of fear, some people will always be inclined to seek a haven in deception, to preserve their ego.
2. Gain Respect of Your Boss and Team
Due to the competitive nature of office environments, sometimes the fear of making one crucial mistake is overwhelming. You might get fired, the funding for your project might get pulled out, or your fat 30% raise might be cut in half. In any case, you have a lot to lose, not to mention the admiration of your boss and team.
In the long run, however, the truth will come out. Whatever admiration and respect your co-workers had will be replaced by distrust. It’s better to admit your mistakes now, while you have a chance to make amends or at least minimize damage.
3. Forgive Yourself
“To err is human, to forgive is divine,” this is a famous maxim by Alexander Pope. Let this maxim remind you that mistakes are part of life, and that admitting your mistakes is akin to accepting who you are. Don’t hate yourself for your lapse in judgment. It’s normal for you to feel ashamed of your mistakes, but don’t let it affect your life for years.
How can you expect people to treat you fairly, when you’re not being fair to yourself? When you admit to our own faults, you are also accepting your limitations.
Mistakes are not present in humanity just for the heck of it. The tumultuous process of growing as a leader is never complete without the act of admission. Learn to love it and do it as often as necessary until you develop a thick skin that doesn’t shy from mistakes.
Additional Reading: John Wooden Inspirational Leadership Series