Have you or anyone in leadership ever made a mistake? How did you handle it? What was the outcome? The 4th Secret, is the story of a corporate leader who does the unthinkable, he makes a grievous mistake. Not only does he make a mistake, he has an outburst that shocks the board members and the man he has mentored. With only a weekend to fix the situation, the mentee must find a way to turn the situation around. Unsure where to turn he decides to revisit his old friend.
So what is the 4th secret? It is the One Minute Apology. According to Blanchard the most important action a leader can take is “the minute you have made a mistake, you need to apologize.” So often managers are in denial in believing that either employees are not watching or that they are exempt from being held accountable for their actions. The problem is that not acknowledging mistakes can lead to a loss of trust from their employees. Honesty and trust are at the core of all workplace relationships.
According to Blanchard apologies should end with integrity. He goes on to define integrity as completing the following:
Understanding that your mistake really isn’t who you are.
You are a better person then the one who made the mistake, so forgive yourself;
Your mistake may have caused hurt or pain; you need to make amends;
Once you have accepted the fact you made a mistake, change your behavior.
The advice that Blanchard offers is solid and a great foundation for any leader facing a difficult situation. According to the author, the only effective way to restore trust is to offer sincere apologies for the mistake.
One of Blanchard’s most helpful trademarks is to list the lessons learned by his characters throughout the book. These tips help readers to keep the lessons forefront in their mind. While the book offers great insight for managers, the ending was a little over the top. As to not ruin the ending, my suggestion would be to read the book to learn how admitting to and rectifying mistakes can help make you a better leader.