How you handle making a mistake says a lot about your ability to be a good teammate. Your willingness to admit your mistake, own it, atone for it, and commit to not repeating it are important steps to putting the mistake behind you.
In most cases, these steps will restore you to a place of good standing on your team. But what about when they don’t? What happens when your attempts to atone fail to bring you redemption?
This situation can be frustrating—for you and your teammates. You want everything to go back to how it was before your transgression. You resent now being subjected to your teammates’ skepticism and added scrutiny.
Your teammates resent that you resent being subjected to skepticism and added scrutiny. They’re bothered by what they perceive to be your unmerited entitlement to a clean slate.
Continuing this resentful exchange will only widen the divide between you and your teammates. If you want to heal your team, you must first understand that forgiveness does not equate to redemption.
Furthermore, you must understand that your mistake transformed who you are in your teammates’ eyes.
You messed up. You hurt your team by selfishly choosing to do something you knew to be wrong. No amount of apologizing or penance will change those facts. You are now a different person.
There’s an analogy used in addiction recovery that applies here: You were once a cucumber, but now you’re a pickle, and you can never turn a pickle back into a cucumber.
Once you accept this premise, you begin to focus on creating the future and abandon trying to fix the past.
Whatever mistake you made altered how your teammates view you. Rather than pouring your energy into trying to change their perspective, use the circumstances as a catalyst to reinvent yourself.
Take the steps to admit, own, apologize, and atone for your mistake. Commit to not repeating it. Embrace your teammates’ skepticism and added scrutiny without discontent. Then, free yourself from the confines of resent.
Become an unentitled version of yourself who relishes the opportunity to serve the needs of your team, regardless of what others think. Let your new attitude become your defining characteristic.
You aren’t a cucumber anymore. You’re a pickle. And pickles are revered for being good pickles, not for the cucumbers they used to be.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate!