I believe it’s a safe statement to say that we all make mistakes, whether in our personal or professional lives. You know that feeling, that moment when you realized with gut-wrenching clarity that you were not only to blame but also responsible for the result of that mistake.
I’ve found that a lot can be said about a person’s character and their values by how they respond to such situations. I learned early on that mistakes were just life lessons that had to be learned and that if I was a part of the problem, then I needed to be part of the solution. Believe me when I say I’ve learned a lot of life lessons through the years and owning up to them, while never an easy decision, is something that has not failed me to this day.
A person who admits their mistakes will make certain to be more efficient in the future.
A friend once had her computer crash, and she was at risk at losing all of her client data if it was unable to be retrieved. She took a light-hearted "mea culpa" approach with her clients and luckily nothing was lost. What she did next was make sure she had a backup in place to avoid any future catastrophes.
A person who admits their mistakes, even when it costs them, will absolutely not want to repeat the same mistake twice.
Recently I found myself in the hot seat when I discovered an error that was unfortunately my responsibility to have caught before getting the client’s approval. I had to tear off the bandage, find a resolution that included paying for the difference and move upward and onward. I can guarantee that costly mistake will be something that I will never forget, nor repeat again.
A person who not only owns up to their mistake but also provides a solution that is more than expected will always go that extra mile for you.
I had a vendor once who produced and shipped the wrong product for a client. When the product was received there was little time for getting it done again on time. Our vendor not only admitted their mistake, they quickly reproduced the correct product, and shipped it with rush delivery all at no charge. They easily could have said, ‘Well, we have a new employee on the production line who didn’t understand your orders.’ Or even said ‘The product we sent was remarkably similar and everyone uses it.’ But they didn’t. They accepted the error, provided a quick solution and consequently they have been my trusted provider for over eight years.
Not all people are apt to take responsibility so it’s wise to look out for trigger words such as ‘they’ instead of ‘I’ as a means to try to shift the blame to someone else or make excuses. Overall, I feel that the person who openly handles the worst situations with grace and humility shows true testament to their integrity.