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Learning From Leadership Mistakes
Whether a leader’s mistake is a temporary setback or career killer depends on his or her attitude and approach to its repair.
Many leaders are afraid to fail. They worry constantly about not meeting expectations and making a mistake. But fear of failure is a deterrent to growth. Leaders should support their cohorts and avoid being overly critical of procedures. However, the trick of leadership is to also maintain accountability and monitor mistakes.
Any time leaders break new ground or implement innovative technologies, they open up new avenues for mistakes that are inevitable with change. But sticking to a routine doesn’t necessarily decrease the likelihood of errors being made. Oftentimes, bad business habits — the mistakes made when leaders aren’t paying attention — come naturally.
If leaders want business success, they have to look clearly at their mistakes and stop repeating them. They need to work with their employees, not against them, to accomplish this. Even a small mistake can have big consequences, and repeating it can cost an employee his or her job, lose customers and kill the company brand.
“Managers should develop a culture of seeking to prevent mistakes before they happen or before they accumulate to a big one,” said Randall W. Hatcher, president of recruiting, staffing and outsourcing services firm MAU Workforce Solutions and author of The Birth of a New Workforce. “They can do this with good reporting and feedback with their individual reports. They should report key performance indicators to the whole company — business-critical things necessary to be successful that have consequences for everybody in the organization. In terms of feedback, companies make mistakes when they have minimal performance development systems or performance appraisals dedicated toward helping employees develop their skills.”
Sometimes, though, a mistake is not the employee’s fault, and if a leader truly believes he or she shares some of the blame, then the leader should act to change procedures going forward. Without accountability, leaders run into a mental cul-de-sac where possible actions to remediate the situation raise difficult, uncomfortable scenarios because remedies would have made a difference much earlier.
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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