When you make a mistake, it’s tempting to try and blame someone else, hide evidence, or basically minimize the responsibility that you take for screwing up.
It makes sense, as we don’t want to be punished for making mistakes. There can be real consequences, whether you’re not paying attention and you run someone over, or you forget a deadline and lose out on a grant your organization needed to survive.
However, when you mess up and own up, often that builds trust, rather than eroding it.
Making mistakes is human, and sometimes there are dire consequences, but leaders with integrity, honor, and trust own up. And when these leaders own up to it, it changes the culture, allowing everyone to start owning up to their mistakes.
When everyone owns up to their mistakes, the culture shifts to focus on preventing those mistakes in the future, and moves from a reactive, punitive place to one of collaboration, support, and a mindset of growth.
The culture you want to live in is up to you.