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Own up!

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I'm writing this on my iPad NOT because I'm showcasing how mobile I am, but because I've infected my office PC, and it's currently in its 5th hour of surgery :-/
 
I'd been having problems with my internet explorer, so I decided to download it again. By mistake I downloaded a chameleon programme which caused chaos. Luckily, I realised I had made a mistake quite quickly. Even more luckily, I have insurance and support, which meant that one call to the PC Support Group, complete with a full confession of what I'd done, has allowed them to set to work putting things right before the virus spreads.
 
We all make bad decisions and do the wrong thing from time to time. If you are new in a role, you will almost certainly make mistakes. It's normal. However, to stop a mistake turning into a disaster, we need to recognise it, stop making things worse, and ask for help.
 
For some reason, many people (particularly people promoted internally to a management position) feel that asking for help is a sign of failure or weakness. It isn't. It's a sign of maturity. To recognise that you have made a mistake in the first place takes a level of self-awareness. To decide to NOT to try and solve it yourself (unless of course you know the solution) shows rational thinking. To ask for help shows a willingness to learn and collaborate.
 
I work with many first line managers and their line managers. I can't bring to mind a single Area Manager or Department Head who would rather deal with a problem that's got out of hand and escalated, than a mistake that's just occurred. Of course, they would all prefer not to deal with any mistakes at all, so taking time to ask advice and develop our skills is the best option. But second best is owning up when we've made a mistake and asking for help as soon as possible: Damage limitation and a learning opportunity all rolled into one.

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