Your employees are going to make mistakes from time to time. However, how you react to those mistakes shows the type of leader you are.
Consider this story from jazz musician Herbie Hancock about a time he made a mistake while performing with Miles Davis.
“I remember when we were playing ‘So What,’ and it was a really hot night. The music was on,” Hancock said in the above video. “Right in the middle of Miles’ solo, when he was playing one of his amazing solos, I played the wrong chord. Completely wrong. It sounded like a big mistake. And Miles paused for a second, and then he played some notes that made my chord right. He made it ‘correct.’ Miles didn’t hear it as a mistake. He heard it as something that happened. Just an event. And so, that was part of the reality of what was happening at that moment. And he dealt with it. Since he didn’t hear it as a mistake, he felt it was his responsibility to find something that fit. That taught me a very big lesson about not only music but about life.”
Shakespeare had the same idea when he wrote, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” A reaction is what separates bad leaders from good ones. And if you want to be considered a good leader, one that your employees look up to and emulate, then choose to find a way to make a mistake fit that will help them look just as good as you.