Had the tree loppers in today to remove some large trees.
Mid-morning one rang the doorbell. “I’m really sorry, but one of the branches has fallen on the telephone line and brought it down.”
“But don’t worry, we’ll get it sorted. I’ll call Telstra and get them to come out and fix it.”
As the saying goes, “S#8t, happens”. We all make mistakes. It’s what you do afterwards which defines you and has a major effect on your relationships.
There’s a fascinating psychological phenomenon called The Pratfall Effect that explains why admitting failure makes us appear more likable, responsible, and reliable.
Back to the tree loppers. Here are 2 things they did well, and a third lesson I hope they learned from the experience.
First, alert people and take the blame.
If you made the mistake, the faster you own up to it and take responsibility, the easier it will be to deal with it. And while it’s obviously the tree loppers’ fault, in many cases you might be tempted to hide the error and hope it’ll go away. But sooner or later you’ll get found out and then your credibility will be shot.
Two, quickly clean up your mess.
They called Telstra and got it sorted. Telstra’s first response was, “Can’t do anything for 2 weeks”. But Mr Lopper would have none of that. The call got escalated and the line got fixed within 3 hours.
And finally, lesson three. Reflect, communicate, and build a future plan for what went wrong.
I saw the truck back into our drive and come perilously close to the low hanging wires. I said to Barbara, “I hope they don’t bring them down”. Her response? “Why don’t you warn them”. I didn’t, thinking it would be fine. Should have followed my own intuition.
As to them, they should have noticed the wires and repositioned the truck to make sure branches couldn’t hit them. C’est la vie. Hopefully they’ll learn from this.
Owning up and admitting mistakes shows vulnerability and is actually a strength. It takes guts and people appreciate you all the more.
Have you had instances where you’ve made a major mistake and owned up to it? I’d love to know what the result was and if it strengthened your relationships. Hit reply and let me know.