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5 Ways Admitting Mistakes Builds Trust And drives innovation By Michelle Reina and Dennis Reina “Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.” ~Henry Ford It can be hard to embrace mistakes, especially given the unforgiving intensity of today’s media and marketplace. Yet when people are encouraged to admit their errors to one another, they can learn from those mistakes and actually learn to trust their own capabilities and those of their colleagues more. This trust of capability forms the foundation of effective, collaborative relationships – relationships that fuel high-performing organizations. Below, we give 5 ways you strengthen trust in your relationships and drive innovation when you take responsibility for– and work through – your mistakes. And we ask you: How can nurturing a “Mea Culpa” Culture that embraces missteps and misjudgments move your organization forward faster than your competition? 1. Admitting mistakes shows you take the impact of your mistake seriously When you take the initiative to admit your mistakes, you show you understand and care about the ‘ripple effects’ of your errors throughout the organization: effects on others’ schedules, energy, and productivity. When you demonstrate this understanding and empathy, people learn they can trust you to value your collaborative relationships with them over your own ego. They also recognize that you’ve extended your trust in them to not respond harshly to you when you own up to your mistakes. This extension of trust inspires people to respond from a higher level of understanding and compassion, and give their trust more freely in return. Trust begets trust. • Game-changer for innovation: When people can trust each other to take the impact of their mistakes seriously, they’re more willing to take the necessary risks to advance shared work. Taking these appropriate risks can result in new ideas for effective and efficient collaboration. 2. Admitting mistakes shows you have passion for the quality of your work When you admit a mistake and work hard to find a solution to the fallout, you demonstrate your passion for your greater organization and the value it brings to the marketplace. You honor your need and your colleagues’ need for you to produce quality work, and generate trust in your commitment to the vision towards which you’re all working. When others see you’re willing to own up to a mistake in higher service to the integrity of your product (and your own integrity), they’re more likely to trust you to take on other tough challenges, as well. You increase your overall trustworthiness when you show up in a trustworthy way in tough situations. • Game-changer for innovation: Passion is inspiring. When people are shown another’s devotion to a high standard of quality, they often begin to consider their own standards, and adjust their behaviors accordingly….elevating the quality of work or ‘raising the bar’ across the organization. 3. Admitting mistakes shows you can engage with the complexity of the changing business world Admitting mistakes builds trust with others because they know how hard it is navigate a complex marketplace – how difficult it is to get the right approach the first time around. They’ve experienced their own struggles with unraveling situations, and when they see you owning your missteps in the midst of complexity, they develop trust in your ability to engage with – and not be overcome by – a rapidly shifting, increasingly dynamic environment. • Game-changer for innovation: Coworkers who can trust one another’s understanding of (and respect for) complexity are more willing to accept each other’s abilities to consider the multiple facets of a project when offering proposals for new and different ways of doing things. 4. Admitting mistakes shows you want to learn how to get better When you admit a mistake – and make it clear you don’t want to make it again – you demonstrate your commitment to getting better at your work. When you strive to improve your performance, you build trust in your capability to handle the pressures of today’s workplace and workload. You show you’re willing to accept you aren’t ever done learning, growing, and expanding in understanding. When people see your eagerness to learn and grow from a mistake, they’re more likely to trust you to overcome future difficulties and obstacles – even if they’re self-created. • Game-changer for innovation: Tenacity is catching. When people see others ‘stepping up to the plate’ to work through a mistake, they’re more likely to take the initiative to improve something about their own performance. 5. Admitting mistakes shows you’re willing to admit you’re human Owning your mistakes generates trust in others because you demonstrate your willingness to show up as human. Everyone carries with them the memories of past mistakes, and everyone knows what it feels like to need to be forgiven. Admitting you were wrong in your ideas or approach builds a bridge of camaraderie with your coworkers, who are liberated to become more open and honest in their interactions with you. People are inspired to trust in the presence of authenticity and transparency because they don’t have to be perfect to be accepted and valued. • Game-changer for innovation: Admitting you’re human empowers others to do the same, creating a safe environment that focuses on compassionate, realistic problem solving, rather than protective finger-pointing and blaming. PE Michelle Reina, PhD and Dennis Reina, PhD, co-founders of Reina, a Trust Building Consultancy, based in Stowe, Vermont are sought after consultants, speakers, and executive coaches. Together, they co-authored the best-selling business books, Trust & Betrayal in the Workplace and Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace. In the field of organizational trust, Michelle and Dennis, who began work on trust in 1991, are considered pioneers. Through their revolutionary work, they help leaders integrate trust-building behaviors into strategic organizational initiatives to achieve business results and transform cultures. Visit ww.reinatrustbuilding.com Email dsreina@reinatrustbuilding.com, Email mlreina@reinatrustbuilding.com Call 802 253-8808. Personal Excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 11.2014 Submit your Articles 13


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