One of the greatest challenges in leadership is to correct mistakes with an effective corrective action plan and process. As a Level 5 Leader, the greatest challenge is walking the line of being helpful when we must be controlling in the situation. To be clear, I am talking about a major mistake outside of effective coaching. This is an issue that must be confronted and a conversation must take place. This goes beyond your choice to opt to cover because perhaps it is your issue or your ego has been bruised. No, this is clearly about others — customers mistreated, employees impacted, or business is or will be negatively affected.
The challenge lies in getting the person who has made the mistake to see that he or she is part of the issue and to see the words, actions, or lack thereof created a mistake that must be corrected. Can we get the person to relate to the mistake, embrace it, own it, and be willing to self-correct?
This week I failed forward. I was coaching an executive who — no matter how hard I tried — could not get beyond that someone else was the root cause, which prohibited him from relating to his part of the issue or mistake. So embittered was he that I was left with few options to move forward, because moving forward would have had me agreeing with the assumption that it was only somebody else’s fault.
Here are a few ideas to get others to relate to mistakes they have made:
- Talk about your own faults before criticizing others.
- Frame your conversation that your intent is to help, not to tear down.
- Paint a power word picture showing life after the mistake has been corrected. ”Imagine this…”
- Give strong evidence of consequences of the mistake if it’s not corrected.
- Give them a fine reputation to live up to.