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Leadership and Meaningful Mistakes
Dr. Maynard Brusman - Emotional Intelligence & Mindful Leadership Dr. Maynard Brusman - Emotional Intelligence & Mindful Leadership
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Wednesday, October 21, 2020


Leadership and Meaningful Mistakes

"I err therefore I am." - St. Augustine

Let's face it: no one is immune from making a mistake. But, we can avoid making matters worse by taking appropriate action.

To be sure, mistakes vary in degree, and depending on the consequences, additional actions may be required, including consulting with a legal professional. But when we make an insensitive comment, send a message without having all the facts or consider how it will be received, or berate a subordinate (or colleague) publicly, we must promptly acknowledge our mistake and make amends. It's time for a good apology.

Bad v. Good Apology

When we hear an apology, we know if it's bad or good. But offering an apology is a different experience.

A bad apology justifies or explains away our error. It paints a picture of why we did what we did or why we should be forgiven. It might sound like: quot;I didn#39;t mean to ___, rather, I was only attempting to___", or "This only happened because I thought ___, please understand where I#39;m coming from.quot;

Of course, trying to explain our actions is natural. But a bad apology rationalizes our error, even for the leader mistake.

A good apology has four elements:

  1. Focuses on the other person(s) and how they have been affected by your mistake. It doesn't assume you know how they feel or what they need, rather, it asks. When leaders truly listen-and do not argue-they open the door to making real amends.
  2. Takes responsibility. It doesn't distribute, dilute, or delegate responsibility. It acknowledges an error and remorse. A good apology sounds like: "I am sorry. I was wrong."
  3. Makes amends. After listening and understanding how other(s) were impacted, it addresses what can, is, and will be done to correct the mistake.
  4. Builds trust. After reflection and identification of lessons learned, it communicates what you will do differently in the future.

Meaningful mistakes require reflection, without obsession. Understand how you contributed to the mistake without getting hung up on "woulda, coulda, shoulda." This type of thinking is not uncommon when the stakes are really high and we take on full responsibility for the error (rightfully or not). If this happens to you, a qualified coach can help you break the cycle of rumination and get back on track with productive self-reflection.

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist amp; EQ Executive Coach and Mindful Leadership Consultant
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News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Maynard Brusman
Title: Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Group: Working Resources
Dateline: San Francisco, CA United States
Direct Phone: 415-546-1252
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