#TuesdayThinks: Own your mistakes and write brave new endings

30 Mar 2021 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: Own your mistakes and write brave new endings

By Nikki Burton

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round up some top tips.

Last week, Angela Merkel did something unexpected. Less than 24 hours after announcing strict lockdown measures for the Easter weekend in Germany, she reversed her decision. And all without having a plan B.

The Chancellor said: “To be absolutely clear, this mistake is solely and alone my mistake as in the end I am the one who carries the final responsibility.” She went on to explain she did not have all the answers, and, acknowledging this would increase uncertainty she added, “I deeply regret this and ask all citizens for forgiveness.”

Wow. I thought to myself. This is leadership. Humble, empathetic and with an uncompromising vision to progress, even when the path is uncertain.

I was dismayed to find that the world is still some way behind in embracing this perspective. On BBC Today they began to question how this admission of a mistake would damage the profile of a leader known for being a safe pair of hands. They began to question why she would waste political influence on something so small.

But I categorically reject this archaic way of thinking.

Owning your mistakes is not a weakness. It does not signal that you are no longer capable of being a safe pair of hands. Quite the contrary. As Brené Brown puts it, “When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.”

So, how can we write those brave new endings?

1. Set your ego aside – acknowledging a mistake is not about losing. It’s not opening yourself up to criticism. It’s about being objective and removing yourself from the centre of the narrative so you can evaluate what went wrong and why.

2. Be accountable – take ownership and show others that you too are an imperfect human. Modelling vulnerability will remove the fear of shame and foster a culture of courage and ownership.

3. Make room for dialogue – mistakes are not an ending. They are an opportunity to reach out to others and work together to find new possibilities. Ask others to join you in problem-solving and finding new directions.

We love working with brands led by imperfect humans. If you’re one of them, get in touch, and let’s write some brave new beginnings together!