Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone knows how to deal with them. We all try our best to avoid blunders, but they seem to find their way to us every once in a while. Sometimes we make the mistake, and other times people on our team mess up. How we handle the mistake is so much more important than the mistake itself.
Every mistake gives us the chance to be people of integrity. Integrity is not being perfect, it’s about owning responsibility when it works and when it doesn’t. One time on at student ministry retreat, we ran a video that we had edited to make it work in the setting. There was just one spot in the video that was not “bad,” it just pushed the edge a little and we wanted it out of the video. The mistake we made was loading and showing the unedited copy on accident. Oops, we were bummed and frustrated. We made a mistake and we had to decide how to respond.
This is how we handled the mistake and how we try to handle all of our mistakes …
- Take Responsibility—If you are the leader, then forget blaming and own the mistake … even if someone on your team made it. Being the leader means we get the credit for the wins and the losses.
- Proactively Apologize—I’m sorry … those two words have so much power. There is no one way to apologize, but make sure you connect with the people you need to after the mistake. They need to hear from you. Many times, when people are mad about a mistake, apologizing and taking ownership can diffuse the negative energy.
- Learn From the Mistake—Every experience is a learning experience, even in the middle of a mistake. Work hard to make sure the same mistake does not happen again. Also, make sure your team learns from the mistake. Mistakes lead to learning and teaching opportunities.
The normal approach when dealing with mistakes is to blame others, make excuses and hide. Do you see integrity in that approach? Next time you make a mistake, own it, apologize, learn from it and move forward.