Trouble with being a trainer, is that when you mess up, you mess up in front of an audience. Like I did today. A situation arose and I handled it really, really poorly. I'm still not sure what I could have done differently, but I know that what I did was perhaps the least effective choice that I had. And of course, there were lots and lots of eyes watching me. It was a situation in which I couldn't stop to address, I had to just swallow the error and then work doubly hard to overcome the effect that it had had.
During lunch, I had time to think a little bit about it. As people came back into the room, I watched them take their seats and felt that I didn't really deserve to be in front of them training. We all knew that I'd handled myself poorly, they did, I did.
I took a breath and said, 'Let's talk about the elephant in the room.' I went on to say that I knew I had handled the situation poorly, that I had been struggling to think through what happened to come up with some solutions. We were all there, they all looked as if they had independant minds so I asked them to suggest to me what other paths I could have taken given what had happened. As a result we had several moments of honesty, kindly stated, and then I went on with the rest of the training.
It all ended up OK, I suppose. I don't like having to publically say, 'Gosh, wasn't I bad?' I suppose no one does. However I believe that I would have done more damage if I'd just pretended it didn't happen and go on. For one, avoidance and denial wouldn't lead me to change - and I have to change, that was clear today. I have to be way, way, more prepared for the unexpected and I have to be ready to find new solutions to new problems. It's been a while since, during a lecture, I've had something thrown at me and that experience hadn't handed me an immediate 'ah ha, I know what to do'.
So, I've some thinking to do. And, of course, my 'apology muscle' just got one heck of a work out. I'm guessing it will be sore in the morning.