Mistakes Mean Opportunity

December 26, 2012

Common sense is many cases is never common. We all wish we had bigger doses of it when we make a mistake or do something in error. Being human is never easy. Here in Michigan, we are known to make our share of mistakes. Of course, we can say that for every state and every nation as well. Every mistake we make, we learn. It is indeed through trial and error that we improve. It takes patience and effort. Because it is mistake we have personally committed, we are not too hard on ourselves. We try to fix it and move on.

But what do we do when others make mistakes around us? How do we react? How do we discipline, criticize and educate to minimize the chances for this mistake to repeat itself?

No matter how many times we open the Dale Carnegie classic How to Win Friends & Influence People, we learn something new. In Part Four, Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment, there is an array of important advice on giving constructive criticism.

We all need coaching. It is how we grow. In Chapter 2, How to Criticize – and Not Be Hated for It, Mr. Carnegie writes about the challenges of the positives when there are negatives.

Principle 2 states very succinctly, Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. It is the only effective way to correct the mistake of others. Always start with a positive and never directly call out the mistake. People know they have made an error and often will fix it on their own because of the way we have handled it.

We easily could make a public scene. We can embarrass the individual. We can even yell at them. But it comes at what cost? The whole purpose of correction is changing the attitude of the one making the mistake. By approaching the issue indirectly and positively, much can be accomplished.

Tis the season to be jolly. When a subordinate or a family member commits that next mistake, think of a way to handle it with aplomb and opportunity. Lessons are learned through success and relationship.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readership!


This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Mid-Northern Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Mid-Northern Michigan. We’d love to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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