Leadership Strategy: Handling “Screw Ups”

Have you or anyone on your team made a mistake or as many say, “screwed up”?  I’m sure you’re nodding your head with a resounding “Yes!  Of Course!”  Do you have a sinking feeling in your stomach just thinking about it?


Today, I invite you to consider a new strategy for yourself and those you lead.  The past is never as relevant as you think so when new things come up, don’t let the past mar the “now”.  You can use your “mistakes” to inform you in a way the moves you forward.


Instead of looking at mistakes as a “failure” – something that didn’t work, painful, bad move, etc. see what lessons can be learned from them. Lessons are character building, make you better, give you something to think about, something to be grateful for, laugh about, and even, educational. Recently, I heard a great statement about “lessons” – It really isn’t a lesson unless it changes your perspective and behavior.  Think about that.  How often do we just keep doing the same thing?  Or, think about things in the same way? 


Learning from Lessons

When you or your staff (or family member) “screws up”, REFRAME it into a learning experience.  Ask:

  • What did you learn?
  • How were you made stronger?
  • Can you see a pattern, repeating lessons?
  • How will what you learned change the way you approach things?


Be a “gentle parent” to yourself and others.  Avoid judgment, blame and criticism. 


Recognize Victories

Also ask:

  • What are your victories?
  • What things have you done “right”? 
  • What have you accomplished, produced, discovered, created, bought, sold, been, done?


Make a list.  Keep it in a handy place so you can read it when you need encouragement, have an important meeting, or by chance, “screw up” again. Encourage those you lead to do this.


You are capable of unlimited amazing things.  This is true for all of those you lead.  Acknowledge that daily.  Enjoy the results!


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