As a business owner or director, while it would certainly help to be right all the time, you’re only human, and you can’t expect it. There’s no shame in making honest mistakes. Everyone makes them. You just have to chalk them up to experience and make sure that you learn their lessons so you won’t make them again.
Avoiding the Culture of Fear
Your staff members are not immune to making mistakes either. What you don’t want is for personnel to hide them for fear of what might happen if they were found out. Often, if errors are covered up at the time, and not put right, you will still have to suffer the consequences somewhere down the line – and then the problems they cause could be much more difficult to fix.
If you own up to your mistakes, the people you work with will respect you for it. They won’t be afraid of making their own, or of asking for help when they need it.
There is another benefit to an open culture like this as well. Sometimes it’s necessary to take risks in order to move on. If people are afraid to take risks, your business can’t move on. If you encourage an environment with a culture of honest mistakes being acceptable, they will not be afraid to take risks. They will take pride in their achievements and those of your organisation, and they will support the risks you take to achieve your vision for the future.
Being a Responsible Leader
The downside is that ultimately you have to take responsibility for putting mistakes right, whether they were made by you or someone else. You have to make the swift decisions that will solve the problems, even if that means taking a step back. Then everyone will look to you for finding new ideas to go forward again.
But you are not the only one with ideas. If people are not afraid of owning up to mistakes, they probably won’t be reluctant to share their ideas.
A problem shared, they say, is a problem halved. So why not arrange a brainstorming session to find solutions. Invite anyone who can be spared from their duties for an hour, explain the problem, ask them for their ideas. Be sure to invite your outsourced bookkeepers, who can contribute from experience of working with a variety of other companies.
List all the ideas that come up on a flip chart or white board, without discussing them until the flow dries up. There are all sorts of ways you can turn this into a fun activity that will bring real value. When the ideas have been discussed and evaluated, you still have to make the final decisions, but others will be proud of the part they played and they will be motivated to give you even more support.