Oops! 4 Tips for Righting Your Wrong Decision

If she could just take it back! It was a decision that was made in a split second. Common sense didn’t have time to settle in and the most important element at the time seemed to be just making a decision.

But it was the wrong decision.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you glance back and think, “Seriously?! Did I just do that? Did I really just make that decision, or that comment, or that look?”

Well, we all have, and last week one of my emerging leaders did too. So how do you rectify a bad situation and make it right? Here are four tips.

Determine if it was bad judgment…or bad integrity.

These are two extremely different challenges. Thankfully, this leader made a bad judgment call. I’m not saying we should take bad decisions lightly, but I know bad decisions due to bad judgment are temporary challenges to work through. They also provide opportunities for learning. On the other hand, a bad decision due to poor integrity is different because poor integrity isn’t temporary. It’s long-term, and it’s dangerous.

Have remorse.

Is there any? The most difficult bad decision to make right is the one where the decision maker has no remorse. Thankfully this leader was devastated by her decision, which created a quicker and freer environment for me to work within. I didn’t have to convince her of why the decision was wrong, so we quickly moved to “fix it mode.”

Make it right.

Go back to those affected by the bad decision and make it right. Acknowledge the mistake and do what it takes to fix it. This involves humility and courage, but it must be done or things will feel “undone” when dealing with these people in the future.

Learn and move on.

Every situation in life, good or bad, is a learning opportunity. After cleaning up the damage, stop to reflect on what was learned. Talk through it with a teammate or two so that it’s partnered with accountability. Don’t glaze over the learning moment by being vague. Come up with at least three very specific learning elements.

Bad decisions are common. What’s uncommon is how we’re willing to deal with them. Funny enough this leader was just one of three individuals that I spoke with this past week who had decision-making issues gone awry. While every leader wants and needs to make great decisions, I’ve learned through experience that it’s our actions after making good or bad decisions that form us into leaders of integrity.

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