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Sep 8
New Research for Leaders Who Make Mistakes

Have you noticed that people tend to lose their peace of mind when they make mistakes?  Yet leaders tell you they fear admitting mistakes because they don’t want to get sued. What would happen if a leader used honest mistakes ... as stepping stones to move forward?

A recent study showed an interesting link between physician burnout connected to an increase in perceived medical errors. The study at
Mayo Clinic found that doctors who sense they have made a major medical error in the previous three months are more likely to suffer burnout and depression. Unfortunately … because of the brain’s shut mistakes 4.gifdown with these conditions … this problem also increases the risk of future mistakes, the study at
Mayo Clinic reported in the current issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Medical errors create a serious problem and the Institute of Medicine   report in 1999 that as many as 100,000 patients die each year because of preventable medical mistakes. In fact  several more recent studies found that a significant proportion of trainees make serious medical errors. It's easy to see why more help is needed. But this research speaks to leaders everywhere....

True... the central purpose of this study was to help doctors make fewer mistakes.  Yet the study shows that  if  physicians face personal distress, and increase future mistakes ... so also do leaders.

While it’s true that mistakes have a strong impact on burnout, empathy and depression in doctors … this vicious cycle can negatively impact client care when leaders ere. Brokers have mistakingly emptied people’s life savings. Builders have added toxins to homes. Drivers have created accidents under similar stress. Let’s face it … mistakes are rarely a good thing…. Furthermore ... we all make them.

This new research reminds us to work with and not against the human brain as an effort to prevent, identify and treat burnout in physicians, for the benefit of their patients. As researchers continue to study this problem and identify solutions, to address physician burnout… other leaders too can find answers to mistake making and its links to mental problems.

In the meantime… here are several tips that help leaders to use mistakes as stepping stones:

1. Build goodwill even with those who disagree and people will likely sue less
2. Practice the marks of a brain based peace plan to work through conflicts
3. Organize your day for fewer mistakes, by using logical math intelligence
4. Draw from your beliefs to shape what you do with excellence
5. Fight to get enough sleep because your brain rewires while you sleep
6. Laugh more – especially at the silly things and your brain thrives on humor
7. Use mistakes as solid stepping stones to improved practice

Have you noticed that leaders who build good will … balance their lives … organize their day … and rest … also tend to admit mistakes and ask people to forgive them. Those who do admit and apologize for the right reasons… teach us all that mistakes are inevitable … and we all make them… but honorable responses can add peace.

How do you handle mistakes in your day?

2 Comments/Trackbacks




I read your post and liked your point of view. The tips are very realistic and useful but for physicians the things are different. They have lives in their hands and if for some leaders a mistake could be repaired in medical world, this one could be fatal. I have no idea about how could malpractice be avoid but it would be better for all of us.

Well said and thanks for stopping by, "Home Office." You make an excellent point. While none of us wants our doctors to slip in a judgment... neither is it especially useful to sue those who do. That's ture for all the reasons mentioned in this post. What... in your opinion ... would be a better way to hold all professionals accountable for their actions...? Ideas?

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