This morning, Google experienced a glitch in their system that caused all search results to come back with a "This site may harm your computer" on each one. Basically, it made you think that the entire internet was corrupted.
The entire situation lasted for about 40 minutes. The Google blog explains what happened...
Way to go Google! There was a problem that was caused by a simple error, a mistake. And the world knew about it. It would have been easy for them to cast blame on someone else or to try and hide the error and point at someone or something else. But that's not what happened. They owned up to it.
And now I like Google even more. Because they were honest, forthright, and worked diligently to fix their error. While I wasn't effected by the error firsthand, I am effected by their response. It shows good leadership to step in and own up to a mistake...and then work really hard to fix it.
Do you remember a few weeks back with President George W. Bush stood in front of the country and shared with us a few of the mistakes he felt he made? It made him more human, more believable, and let us inside his head a little bit. Whatever you think of the man as President, there were numerous reports that showed people softening toward Bush because of the candid and forthright nature of his comments, even though they clearly disagreed with his policies. When he said he made mistakes, it showed us another side that we hadn't seen very much of. We might have appreciated him more or better understood his rationale if he'd shown that side a little sooner.
If you're a student leader you are going to make your fair share of mistakes. It's guaranteed. Because you're learning - and some of your most valuable lessons will be from your own failures. Don't try to hide from them. Don't try to blame others or find some excuse. Own up to them and work to resolve them. You'll be surprised how much more people will respect you when you admit you've done something wrong instead of trying to hide it and cover it up.