Own When You Are Wrong: 3 Tips on How to Admit It

I will not forget the first time I heard Professor Brown speak.  Brené Brown.  I sat there and watched her TED talk, the Power of Vulnerability, and I realized that this was going to be a woman people would talk about for years to come.  That particular TED talk has now been seen over 36 million times.  Why do people find being vulnerable so difficult?  As I sat there and listened to her, goosebumps ran down my arms.  This.  This is what the world needs.  Not shiny, and put together.  Not knowing all, and certainly not pretending to know all.  But this.  This openness to change and be the change.

Watch this for a minute if you can.  Dare to Lead. << It’s on courage and leadership.  In this clip, Brené says are you living into your values?  It is just something that I feel is so important for leadership.

Can you build trust?  Can you have courageous conversations or do you push them away and then don’t change?  Can you learn to rise or get back up from failure?

How do we scale this type of behavior and promote courage in the workplace, the schools, or even at home?

How to own when you are wrong:

  1. Be willing to be open and vulnerable. Do not deflect and try to bring up wrong doing of someone else, or use a scapegoat.  It does not look good to deflect and bring up other areas of blame.  Can you stay in the hard conversation and give feedback when it’s hard?  Can you really think about what the person is saying, because it wasn’t easy for them to have that conversation.  The person who “stuffs” emotions will not have that conversation with you.  It takes the truly courageous to be able to admit that things need to change.
  2. Do you believe in the capacity for change?  One thing that is hard about owning when you are wrong or having these hard conversations in the belief that they will not go anywhere at all.  Why would we have this conversation and open up to being vulnerable when nothing is going to change?  You have to be willing to listen and admit your part.  What is the next right step from there?  What will change?
  3. Clear is kind.  Unclear is unkind.   << That is so powerful.  Very powerful.  Is there a clear path and someone taking ownership or is the path muddy and ever-changing?  Straight from Dr. Brown.  Clear is kind and unclear is unkind.  It puts unnecessary stress on the environment you are trying to change, no matter what that environment is.  Life.  Work.  Kids.  Relationships.

I hope that this helps you today because if you are worried about having that courageous conversation, think about what it is doing to your body.  Being stressed out and not knowing what is going on is unkind to yourself and your body.  Make a decision and go forward.

As a leader, and you are a leader because it doesn’t matter what your job is, where you are in the world, or who you are in any company or business, you can be a leader…but you have to act like it.  Think like it.  And live by your values.  If you are having conversations over and over again but no growth is happening, what is the next best step for you in your leadership role of your life?

Making proactive changes involves action as talk is often not followed through by many people.  It is best to mention the next step forward that will help.  If you are trying to get someone going in the right direction, then the next step would be to tell them starting from this day, I will do x, and it will be here.  Again, actions speak louder than words.

Lastly, when you are talking about a mistake, end on a high note.  You want to end the conversation, even if you are only having it with yourself, on what you have learned and how things will improve.  It will never be time to throw someone (that undisclosed mysterious person all people like to bring up) under the bus.


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