After a memory melt-down
Robin, accounting manager for an aggregate and paving company in Redmond, Oregon told session six of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL)…
“In April 2017 our company acquired new accounting software. Up to this point, I have been the only person in our office able to process payroll. Since we pay weekly, this means I have to be there, always, every Friday, no vacation for me! After starting the Leadership Development Lab, I set as my goal training a back-up (so I can take a much needed vacation).
“After a couple of weeks of working carefully with our office manager Christie, I stepped back and let her try going through the process on her own. When she reached the step where she was ready to upload the direct deposits to the bank’s website, Christie came to me to get the password. I was in the middle of something so I grabbed a Post-It Note and quickly jotted down the password.
“A few minutes later, Christie returned and told me she was ‘locked out.’ I had no idea why she would be, so I went to the bank’s website and sure enough my login was ‘revoked.’ I was a bit perturbed as I couldn’t guess how she had messed it up. I called the bank. Got a new password, and we were good to go.
“When I pulled out my cheat sheet to record the new password, I discovered it was my mistake. I had given Christie the wrong password! I apologized profusely for my mistake and for blaming her (Leadership Principle #11 – When you blow it, show it).
“The lessons I learned from this experience is that I need to be very careful about blaming others when mistakes occur. I need to get all the facts before jumping to the conclusion that they screwed things up. When I screw up and the mistake is mine, I need to be willing to accept my mistakes openly.
“The actions I call you to take when mistakes occur is to add a measure of patience and when you are wrong or make a mistake, be willing to accept full responsibility, and own up to it quickly.
“The benefit you will gain is people will see you are human and will be more willing to admit their own mistakes. No one is perfect. The team benefits in the long run when you model vulnerability and you increase respect and trust.”
We have to be so careful about blaming others for screwing things up, for making mistakes, for doing it wrong. Get all the facts before you fall into the trap of thinking or saying something like…
“That was stupid!”
“How could you do that?”
“What were you thinking?”
“How could you make that mistake?”
If and when you discover it was really you who screwed up, admit it quickly and emphatically.
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