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Graci Leadership Solutions Blog

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Are There Do-Overs in Leadership?

During a recent TV interview, a reporter asked a current network sports announcer about his biggest regret or "do-over" in his career. Was there something he wished he could change or take back, knowing what he knows now? The announcer paused, then recalled a particularly embarrassing moment from many years ago on-air that had drawn significant criticism. This got me thinking: what would my biggest do-over be? Well, I have several.

Firstly, I would like to apologize to a former team member from my time at First Bank. Benny had offered a suggestion on how to improve productivity, and I distinctly remember the pride and energy he displayed when making the recommendation. However, I failed to respond to him and explain why his idea couldn't be implemented. As a result, Benny became less forthcoming with ideas and suggestions. I mistook his reluctance for a bad attitude at the time, but I now realize that my lack of response likely contributed to his behavior.

Secondly, I owe an apology to Brooke from State Farm, a standout performer on my team. I often delegated undesirable tasks to her simply because she didn't give me any pushback. Meanwhile, I avoided assigning similar tasks to Larry and Tom because they would have resisted. In doing so, I unfairly burdened Brooke with unpleasant responsibilities as a punishment for her cooperation while rewarding Larry and Tom for their resistance.

Lastly, I deeply regret my handling of a situation involving Darnell, a new forklift driver in the organization. On his first day, I overheard some team members critiquing his performance, but I could not address it immediately due to a meeting with my boss. By the time I planned to address the issue, Darnell had already quit, citing feeling unsupported. I attempted to apologize and intervene, but the trust between us had been irreparably damaged. I should have acted swiftly to address the criticism and provide support to Darnell from the start.

What about you? What's your biggest do-over, and how did you learn from it? As they say, there are no do-overs in leadership, only opportunities to fail forward and grow from our mistakes.

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