When an effective manager makes an ineffective decision, they need to learn from their mistake and move forward. There is no advantage to “wallowing in the error” rather it is much better to find a way to fix the poor decision and make sure that it does not recur.
Here are five good choices to get back up on the horse after a bad choice has been made:
- Accept Responsibility for the Mistake
Do not blame anyone else for your mistake. Effective leaders willingly accept personal responsibility as they know that accountability is key to their credibility. Team leaders, whose team members may have erred, still take responsibility for their team after they have examined what when wrong, corrected it as best they can and learn from the experience.
- Apologize and Explain
Once you acknowledge the mistake, bad judgment, or poor choice, apologize and explain your actions. An explanation is not an excuse, rather it serves to set forth the series of events leading up to that sincere apology. It is important to admit your mistakes and take responsibility for them. Let everyone know how you are moving past the issue. People understand that you cannot change the past and they may be upset with you for a short while, however, they will recognize your integrity and appreciate you for your honesty.
- Take the Lessons Learned to Heart
Once you have cleaned repaired the damage as best as possible, tread lightly and carefully as you consider your next steps. The important thing to remember is what went wrong. You may still be facing the same situation or a very similar one so it is very important to make the best choice possible to try to fix the problem. Now, if that choice also fails, you now know two approaches that don’t work and can seek a third option that hopefully will be the right fix. All these experiences can be opportunities to learn.
- Keep Moving Forward
It is very important to make the best of a bad situation and push forward. In this way, you make the bad decision a minor mistake in the context of the whole. Now you need to continue making good decisions, and eventually, people will forget the mistake.
- Focus on the Present
It is always best to learn from the past and not to dwell on mistakes. There is nothing you can do about it now, so focus on the present and move forward to the next issue you face.
The only people who never make bad decisions are those who make no decisions at all. Every great event in human history involved someone taking a risk and the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. When you do make a mistake, handle it with dignity, take responsibility for your error, and learn from what happened. Then, just keep taking calculated risks because that is what a leader does and it is expected of you.