Revoke a Bad Decision Publicly
Admitting mistakes, large and small, is a hallmark of good leadership and the credibility it depends on.
Team members respect leaders who own up to their missteps and show themselves to be human in the process. It takes a secure and self-confident leader to acknowledge to others that they have slipped up.
One mistake worth noting for its symbolic value is when the mistake is a faulty decision. On occasion, leaders make decisions that turn out to fail or have unintended negative consequences. The natural tendency for leaders is to endure this bad decision until it can no longer be kept in place. At some point, the decision needs to be dismantled. The only question is how.
In most instances, poor choices and decisions simply get corrected by introducing new decisions that replace them. Little conversation is held to acknowledge the weak decision. Instead, the new decision that overrides the old one takes center stage.
At the moment of announcing a new decision going forward, an opportunity exists to significantly enhance a leader’s credibility. Revoking the old decision publicly, in front of those impacted by it, takes nerve and courage many leaders can’t find. But when they do so, credibility rises like a rocket.
Leaders who are willing to say confidently that they made a decision (mandated a policy, set a new pricing or compensation model, made an investment, crafted a new strategy, and so on) that flopped are rewarded with deep respect from those they lead.
The symbolism conveyed by a leader who confesses that a given decision deserves to be blown up and discarded speaks volumes about authenticity and trustworthiness. We don’t view this leader merely as courageous and honest. We also see them as open-minded and objective leaders who are dedicated to doing what’s best for the team.
When a bad decision needs to be rescinded, good leaders don’t miss the opportunity to project their true character and competence. Revoking a poor decision publicly is a ticket to win the hearts and minds of the team.
There’s no excuse not to play.