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Mar 14, 201712:51 PMOpen Mic

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How making mistakes helps your business grow quickly

As leaders, owners, and entrepreneurs, we hate to admit when we’re wrong. We feel guilt and shame. We worry we’re sabotaging our own company. We are concerned about how our team will see us and how our choices will affect them.

Essentially, we beat ourselves up.

Why it’s good to feel bad

If you screwed up and are experiencing guilt, good for you. You have integrity. You have unselfish concern for your team. You understand the weight of your own choices. Running a business may feel like monopoly, but it’s no game.

Why it’s bad when you don’t have guilt

Leaders who fail to see their mistakes, or who see them but refuse to take responsibility, are an infection in their company. And like any other infection, they need to be healed or eradicated immediately.

Leaders bear the responsibility to think of themselves last. Their job is to shepherd the company with wisdom and integrity, to protect the team and lead by example. If the leader’s example lacks integrity, it will slowly kill — or at the least cripple — the company.

Why guilt should have an end

Guilt is powerful. It reveals what you don’t want to see, but NEED to see. Realizing your mistakes motivates you to correct them. While it can deliver a heavy blow to your self-confidence, it can also improve your character.

But what if you screwed up so badly that you simply can’t let it go, even after fixing your mistakes?

Look, everyone makes mistakes, especially business owners. Don’t believe us?

You have a lot at stake with each choice you make. You are human, and humans make mistakes. Stellar humans admit fault and correct their mistakes, and these humans in turn become wiser, more deliberative, and much better leaders.

The question isn’t if you’re going to make a mistake, but rather when and how you’ll handle it.

Susan Thomson is a partner and licensed business and executive coach for ActionCOACH of Madison.

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