[by Charles Gupton]
We all make mistakes. That’s a given. But how we respond when we make a mistake is not. In our response – or lack of one – lies a key to our potential success in relationships, both personal and business.
Once we recognize a mistake has been made, our first response should nearly always be to acknowledge it. Although there are people who believe admitting an error is a sign of weakness, acknowledging a mistake is simply admitting that one is human. Acknowledging a slip-up is a first step in making corrections, if necessary, before moving forward with more important matters at hand.
Part of our assessment should include determining whether a mistake really was an unintentional oversight — or a willful decision we later regret. Either way, coming clean with our realization is usually the best way of clearing the slate so that more productive work can be done.
The added bonus of addressing our mistakes ourselves, rather than waiting to be confronted by a client, is that it takes the pressure off the client from having to make a difficult call. It also makes it easier for a client to know that it’s safer to admit an over-sight, should that occur.
All too frequently, the energy we spend on trying to cover our butts and make ourselves look good to others could be better invested in enjoying both our work and time away from it. It’s far too easy to waste our creativity on little details that don’t really matter rather than on the big picture projects that matter most.