Men are often stereotyped as either overbearing and arrogant, or as passive pansies. Many of us don’t follow in those two categories. One common syndrome that feeds this perception is men refusing to own and man up to their mistakes.
For some guys it’s nearly impossible to recognize when they need to man up to a mistake. When men don’t, they can be crushing to the people around them. Whether it’s they girlfriend, spouse, kids, parents or friends, not recognizing and taking responsibility for a wrong is damaging to others and damaging to their image of you.
All men want respect. Right? To man up to your mistakes doesn’t mean you’re giving up your power or losing respect. In fact, most people respect a person more when they are self-aware and humble enough to recognize and own a wrong.
If you have a tough time figuring out when to man up to your mistakes, here’s what to do:
Recognize your mistake
When people look at you funny or are offended, that might be a cue that you’ve done something unacceptable.
Now, just because others deem your actions unacceptable doesn’t mean you have to acquiesce to their preferences. I hope you’ve found a moral code. And it shouldn’t be one you made up. It should be one that pre-exists and exists outside of you. If not, well, internally fabricated morality doesn’t hold water for long.
According to that code, if you know you’ve wronged someone (as in if they did it to you, you would feel wronged) then you have successfully recognized your mistake. This of course could include more than offending people, but dropping the ball at work, lying, bad decision making that impacted others, etc.
Become more self-aware
Becoming more self-aware is a trait of humility. What’s kind of funny about that is it may sound like I’m suggesting you think more about yourself. In a way you should. But thinking about yourself with others in mind.
To become more self-aware you should consider how someone other than yourself would receive you. You probably are somewhat satisfied and used to yourself. But others are not. They don’t know you, your story, or your good intentions. Being aware that people don’t know your slate will help you gain their perspective of you.
Remember this: people’s perceptions of you become reality to them.
Ask for feedback
If you struggle to be self-aware when manning up to your mistakes it’s much easier when you ask people for what they think about you.
A common manly mantra is ““I don’t give a #$%^ about what people think.”
I disagree. You really should care about what people think, and you should listen to them. People matter. People are important. And receiving a healthy person’s insight will create a healthier you.
Listen to the men in your life
What do other men you trust have to say about your behavior and patterns?
Listen to the women in your life
A woman’s perspective is frequently different than a man’s. Go get a woman’s perspective!
How to man up to your mistakes
Whether it was dropping the ball, missing a deadline, making a decision that harshly impacted others, lying or just plain hurting someone, you should go apologize. That alone will show you firmly man up to your mistakes.
A note: if you find yourself being a people-pleaser, don’t walk around groveling and apologizing just because people make you “feel” bad. If you truly didn’t error, the problem may not be you. And apologizing where it’s inapproppriate to do so sometimes feeds other people’s bad patterns of behavior.
Right the wrong
What must you do to make it right? Sometimes it is as simple as making an apology. Sometimes, you need to make an extra effort and take an extra step to resolve things at work. In a relationship, it probably will take more than some roses or chocolates. It probably means some long conversations to talk things through.
Keep your word
Need I say anything more? Check out Ronan Cray’s post and what he has to say about this being one of the 8 Traits Of Real Men.
Stay true to that word
Once you’ve given your word, keep on keeping it. Give it, and don’t let it return void. Decide who you’re going to be and continue to be that man who chooses to man up to their mistakes.
Man up to your mistakes
If you’re the guy who does recognize and “own” when they’re wrong, you’ll stand head and shoulders above those that don’t. People will recognize your humility. This is an important trait of a team player that will help you at work, and when you’re teaming with friends, family and your spouse for a greater life.
[Featured image credit http://dribbble.com/josecanales]