Let’s talk about mistakes! This one was a doozy.
I’ll never forget the judge's unamused, stoic face.
I was being trained as the new HR leader at our site and went to my first unemployment trial with my Trainer. My Trainer made sure I was well-prepped and ready to fairly represent our organization.
What followed next, I did not see coming. We could not have been assigned to a more serious and stoic individual (and dare I say, cranky…must have been having a bad day?) to decide over our case.
It was my turn. He asked for my name. Next, he asked me for my title. I responded firmly and confidently. “Mrs.”. He looked annoyed and asked the question again.
I re-stated my answer, but a bit louder this time, “Mrs.”!
Again, not satisfied with my answer, he asked me a third time. You think by now I would have caught-on, I was not providing the correct answer.
But nope…I looked him square in the eye and raised my voice a bit louder and slowly annunciated, "Mrs. Erika Butler".
At this point, there were some chuckles in the room. I’m sure my trainer was shaking his head and wanted to give me a poke with the right answer!
Next, he said, ‘Your BUSINESS Title!’.
“OHH!” ….and it finally clicked, and we were able to move on. Oops!
Talk about embarrassing! Even the ex-employee was trying to hold back his laughter. What made it worse was the man overseeing our case didn't even crack a smile.
A few days later, I came into the office with a new title that was made up on my office door “Mrs. Erika Butler”. I will never be able to live this down. My friends from this season still joke with me about this. Though I was mortified at the time, now I can’t help but laugh!
I think this is a great example of what it can be like for new-in role leaders. Obviously, this should have been self-explanatory to me, but for some reason it did not initially click. It’s true that you just don’t know what you don’t know.
Going off of this, many times new leaders do not realize how impactful their words and action are to those around them. What they say matters and they are many times the dinner conversation (whether it be, 'my boss gave me some great recognition today!' Or, ‘my manager threw me under the bus today'…etc…etc.). New leaders have a big job taking care of their team. They need all the support, training, development, and guidance they can get!
We all make mistakes and need to give ourselves and our team members permission to be a beginner - permission to trip, fall, learn and grow!
Making this clear to new-in-role leaders helps them feel supported, encouraged, and more able to thrive!
Author: Erika Butler, CEO