Reward those who help repair your faults.

2 03 2015

“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in the ability to repair her faults.” ~Alexis de Tocqueville

For many leaders, one of the harder things to do is to pause, look back at some error that has been pointed out, and say, “Yep, my bad – I got that wrong.”  Many poor bosses might make excuses why they were right, or lash out in anger at those who pointed out the mistake.  These folks might use their positional power to retaliate in small, mean-spirited ways at the person who “made them look bad”.  They see mistakes as being egg on their face, and may never  change their opinion of someone who was just trying to be helpful, instead keeping that person “on the list” for the rest of their career.

Or, you could lighten up, laugh at yourself for your mistake, and thank the person who was brave enough to point it out (repair your fault).  I would argue that the error identifier might have a strength that you don’t have, and you should keep them around as your “fact-checker” in addition to what their formal role is.  In other words, I’d position them for upward mobility instead of what the boss in the first paragraph did.  Make the act of pointing out a mistake (or offering a different perspective on an issue) a reward-worthy one, and you’ll have a lot happier, and more successful folks on your team, not to mention a more successful team.


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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