Coming Clean on Your Mistakes: Could You Do It?

Linda Dulye's picture
In a recent interview with the Harvard Business Review podcast, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz talked about his return to the company he helped grow from a single coffee shop in Seattle to a worldwide brand.
The first thing Schultz did was to stand in front of Starbucks employees, 180,000 of them, and take ownership -- "almost a confession," he said -- for what he characterized as self-induced problems.
"We had to admit to ourselves and to the people of this company with that we owned the self-induced mistakes we made," Schultz said. "Once we did that, though, it was like when you have a secret and once you get it out, it's relieving and it unleashes you, in a way, because the burden is off your shoulders."
The ability to 'fess-up and admit that you've made mistakes is one of the best -- and painful -- ways to gain credibility with your team, your colleagues and your customers. Schultz talks about how difficult it was.
Have you had to admit a mea culpa to your staff or your boss? How confident are you could own up to mistakes and instill confidence in your stakeholders? 
Give it some thought. Being able to do so is what separates leaders from managers.


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