mistakes leaders avoid

3 Mistakes savvy leaders know how to avoid (the hot dog challenge)

We all make mistakes but when mistakes happen to someone else, especially if we are responsible for their results, we tend to be controlling and unforgiving. Leading is also letting people make mistakes and learning from experience. The more we limit experience, the more we limit the potential of our employees.

mistakes leaders avoid

  1.  Give people a chance and they will amaze you

A few weeks ago my youngest, who LOVES to spend time with me at the BOLDFACE shop, offered to create a YouTube marketing video “to help me sell more backpacks to kids.”

Benjamin Franklin believed that the best way to train and lead someone is to put them in the driver’s seat and let them make the mistakes firsthand.

Instead of telling myself, “What does this kid know about producing a marketing video?” I reminded myself of the need we all have to try it ourselves and learn from the process. Success or failure, this was going to be a growth experience for her. I couldn’t deny her this experience.

Overnight my daughter put together a plan, including the necessary equipment, props and location. I took my direction from her and asked a friend with a nice camera to tape the production and asked another great friend if we could use his restaurant. Within less than an hour all the pieces came together and we had our shoot planned.

The morning of the taping my daughter had a storyboard sketched out and had recruited friends to guest with her on the video. Location. Check. Talent. Check. Props. Check.

The process took less than two hours. My daughter showed incredible organizational skills, confidence and composure despite it being her first time in front of the camera. I was truly amazed.

  1. If we want the best out of people, we must give them control

Jonah Lehrer wrote, “Every time you make a mistake or encounter something new, your brain cells are busy changing themselves.” Your brain recognizes mistakes and rewires itself to avoid making the same mistake the next time.

Whether it is a child or an employee, if we want the best out of people we must give them control. We must let them try, fail and try again.

Many of us have a difficult time giving up control and delegating. We make excuses to support our practices. But in the end, we do ourselves and our organizations a disservice. The more we limit experience, the more we limit the potential of our employees.

  1. Everyone makes mistakes on the path to mastery

It is part of the learning and growth process. Eventually, and after plenty of failures, the student becomes a master.

My challenge to you is to identify experiences that you are withholding from staff (or family). What experience can you provide that will create growth and improve the overall organization?

Let go and watch amazing things happen!


By the way, if you are interested in watching my daughter’s video you can view it by clicking the link that follows. If you do view it, please like, subscribe and feel free to leave her some feedback in the comment section. We all need feedback!