I think everyone knows at this point that I am a huge football fan. As we approach the Super Bowl on Sunday, I find my thoughts turning to what happened in the AFC Conference Championship game. A player on the Cincinnati Bengals committed a 15-yard penalty on the second-to-final play of the game, which moved the Kansas City Chiefs into field goal range, and they kicked the winning field goal on the last play of the game.
The Bengals player who committed the penalty was on the sidelines literally crying tears of disappointment for making that bad play. Now, one bad play does not define who he is as a player or defines a career, but I’m sure that play will take him a long time to get over. Just like in our careers, I’m sure we have made “bad plays.” Mistakes that we thought we could not get away from. I know I have. Some I still think about up to today. We are not perfect. But, how do you recover from those mistakes where you feel that there is no recovering from that mistake? Here are some things I have done to help me through those tough times.
First, if you need to apologize, apologize. Don’t offer excuses. As I have heard said, “Don’t ruin a sincere apology with an excuse.”
Second, focus on the good things you have done in the past. Your mistake can’t take away from those things.
Third, pledge to yourself to get better. Use the experience to improve yourself. Change what you need to change. Finally, do not be afraid to own your mistake. Only through that ownership of what went wrong can you truly get to a point where you can improve yourself and truly commit to that improvement.
As always, thank you for everything that you do for your workplaces and for the people with whom you work.
Ken Meyer, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Principal, KWM HR Consulting LLC
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