How Embracing Our Mistakes Can Help Us Grow

accountability personal development professional development Mar 06, 2022

Making mistakes is normal. We all do it, despite how hard we all try not to. Mistakes are a natural part of life. When we make a mistake, we can often try to deflect blame onto something or someone else, to avoid the embarrassment or shame of being wrong. This can cause issues with those you are working with. It can cause defensiveness, frustration and a lack of accountability - these attitudes are contagious and can spread throughout those we interact with. 

Instead, we should all be aiming to embrace our mistakes. What does this mean? We should embrace that we WILL make mistakes from time to time. It doesn’t mean we are aiming to make mistakes, but that we should normalize when we do. We can accept that we’ve made a mistake, take responsibility for it and work to learn from it. 

So how does embracing our mistakes actually help us grow? 

Accepting Responsibility Shows Leadership

The act of accepting responsibility for the mistakes we make, or the mistakes made by those we manage or oversee, is a show of leadership. When we do this, people trust that we will be honest with them about how things are going and where mistakes were made. And it shows we will work to rectify the situation without worrying about who’s to blame. By accepting mistakes and learning from them, we are showing that we can handle criticism, we are comfortable accepting the blame and taking responsibility for our own actions. 

This is a huge sign of growth for a leader and is a key trait that many look for in leadership across the corporate world, in the sports world and beyond. Think about it- we all want to hear leaders not only apologize for the mistake, but take ownership for those mistakes and address how they’ll work to change things. 

Avoiding the Blame Game Builds Stronger Teams

When we avoid entering the cycle of searching and pointing out who is to blame, our teams are stronger. The people working alongside us know we have their back, and they will feel less embarrassed about making mistakes. Teams fail when people are afraid to make mistakes, and instead of asking for help, hide their errors and wrong steps to avoid criticism or blame. 

When we embrace mistakes as a learning opportunity, we ensure that our team can come together to avoid the “blame game” and work to solve the problem. We build a stronger unit and naturally avoid major issues and prevent some mistakes in the future. 

Mistakes are Our Greatest Teachers

Making mistakes is the best way we each can learn and grow, both as an individual and as a leader. When we move into our next chapter, a new job or a new opportunity, we won’t know everything. It’s impossible to expect we will. Mistakes are going to be inevitable. It’s more important to focus on how we respond to the idea of making mistakes. Do we hide them and aim to avoid bringing them to light, or do we openly let people know and ask for help? 

Mistakes really help us learn how to find issues, notice our weaknesses and utilize our team and the people around us more effectively. Without mistakes, we’d never have to be uncomfortable. We’d never have to learn a new way to do things, or have conversations with others about helping and supporting the work we’re doing. 

At the end of the day, making mistakes can be a powerful tool for our own growth. So let’s move forward without being afraid of making mistakes. Let’s embrace our mistakes and use them as a sign of growth and maturity!


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