How Self-Evaluation Helped Me When I Screwed Up!


When Dissolving Conflict Gets Personal

Self-evaluation with an accurate self-assessment is key for anyone in any kind of leadership role. Leaders set the tone for their projects, teams, and organizations. A leader who does not have the competency or commitment to self-evaluation will cause the entire team to suffer.

As you most likely know, I’ve spent the last 25-years helping leaders build work environments where everyone steps up and speaks up.  One of the key pieces of The Halpin Method is dissolving conflict, not just resolving it. 

Due to no one’s fault but my own, I got myself into some conflict recently that was caused by my own poor judgment.  

I caused this conflict to occur with one of my most beloved loved-ones who I have admired since I was a child.  We both treasure our connection.  However, during a late-night text discussion across the country, I misinterpreted some things she said.  I didn’t just stop with what I believed she had said. I went further to believe erroneously that I needed to ‘get into action’.  This is a longstanding mindset I can fall into in a nano-second.  The mindset goes something like this.  “There’s a problem so I need to solve it immediately”.  Fortunately, I have years of self-evaluation accumulated during my Strategic Think Time habit that I do routinely.

Longstanding Growth Opportunity for Katharine

In this case I was not asked to solve the problem.  More importantly it would be inappropriate for me to try to solve the problem.  Lastly, the method I chose to try to solve the problem demonstrated a complete lack of good judgment on my part.

I was deeply pained by my actions that caused this, hopefully temporarily, lack of trust.  Fortunately, my loved-one brought a tremendous amount of personal maturity to the situation even though she was horrified by the action I took. She was direct, firm yet calm.  There was zero ambiguity about her disappointment with the actions I took. 

I understand the power of my long-standing tools to dissolve conflict, so I immediately took 100% responsibility. I did not blame her for the texting miscommunication.  I did not try to defend or justify my behavior. I did not make excuses. I simply stated over and over that, yes, I had demonstrated very poor judgment and that I alone was responsible for the outcome.

I know time heals things. 

Additionally, my loved-one already stated we would put this unfortunate situation behind us.

I share this as a reminder that we are all human beings.  

We do the best we can based on our visions for our lives and relationships, our values, our commitment to shared purposes and our ability to self-manage and demonstrate self-leadership.  

Even with all that, I still screwed up big time.  

Fortunately, I’ve also learned self-evaluation and equally as important, how to forgive myself for being human.

In addition to sharing my experience, I want to share some reflection questions with you.  Ask yourself:

Have I screwed up recently? How often?  Is this a pattern or a trend?

What occurred that allowed that screw-up to occur?

At what cost did this occur? Did I damage the trust I had earned with a colleague? Did I lose the respect of an important person? Did I negatively impact my own peace of mind?

How can I clean this situation up by taking 150% accountability?  What would be the benefit of cleaning this up?

Where do I need to forgive yourself for being human?

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