Taking Responsibility when Things go South


It's no easy task to face the music when you've made a mistake. Whether you're a manager apologizing or taking the fall on behalf of your team or you're an employee who messed up, it's typically within our nature to hide behind falsities and excuses first. Being humble, admitting to our mistakes, and taking responsibility for our actions or those of our team will always leave you vulnerable and there's no two ways around that. But, whether you're in a guest recovery situation or simply being coached by your boss, vulnerability and humility are the keys to a successful resolution that will at minimum leave you with a sense of dignity and pride, and at best with the respect of the others involved in the situation and with a quick resolution.


Mistakes, as we've discussed in previous articles, will always happen. Mistakes are opportunities for learning, and should be treated as such. In light of that line of thinking, you also have to take a step back and realize that when you do make a mistake, the best course of action is to own up to it and face whatever happens. In an ideal world we would all be able to make mistakes, own up to them, learn and move on without repercussion (within reason). But not every business is aligned to this way of thinking, and sometimes it can be downright terrifying to admit to a mistake whether intentional or not. Perhaps you've been slacking on your duties, or maybe your team made a huge error that you should have caught before things got out of line, regardless of the circumstances the best possible thing to do is just admit to your own wrongdoing.


A valuable lesson to learn in any conflict-type situation is to look at yourself first. This is one

of the hardest things to do because we don't like looking at the "ugly" side of our work ethic, communication skills, or general overall presence. With humility and grace, you must look at what you could have done differently. Even if your first reaction is to get defensive and immediately state you're not to blame (and maybe you aren't!) you have to face the proverbial mirror and ask things like:


1. Could I have handled this differently?

2. Was there anything I missed that I should have caught?

3. Did I say or do anything that could have been misinterpreted?

4. What were my tasks in this process? Did I complete them all?

5. How could I have helped my team more effectively?


It's hard, and there's no doubt in that fact, but when you take responsibility you show that you are not only willing to learn, change, and grow; but that you are able to be self-aware and are a coachable employee who isn't afraid to admit when they're wrong. Does this mean you should take responsibility even if it isn't your fault? Most often no. If you're dealing with a guest, then yes, you should always take responsibility for the situation at hand and apologize and offer resolution with sincerity. The guest does not care who is to blame. Only that they have been wronged somehow. If you're dealing with your boss, coworker, or a less formal environment then it's okay to offer what you think you could have done differently while simultaneously standing up for yourself and your beliefs.


The most gratifying reason for taking responsibility where it's due, is that you can leave with a sense of pride knowing that you didn't lie, make excuses, or try to hide behind others when confronted with conflict. Nearly every manager in any business will also respect you and be grateful that the issue was handled quickly rather than taking unnecessary time to find a resolution. It takes time, coaching, practice, and hard work for most people to get to the point that they feel comfortable doing this; but if you're a natural at it then keep it up! Accountability is essential to personal and professional growth and is one of the most important attributes many highly sought-after companies will look for, and will set a respectable example for those around you.

Do you, your team, or or your business need help forming a coaching plan around accountability? Contact All Heart Consulting today! We'd love to help. www.allheartconsulting.com

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