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Have you ever had what you would consider a major ethical lapse?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Have you ever had what you would consider a major ethical lapse?

  • Yes — I’ve made a big mistake at least once: 48.59%
  • No — I’ve never had an ethical lapse: 51.41%

To err is human. We all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty. Sometimes we find ourselves in that gray area. The most critical thing we can do at that moment is stop, call the foul, make amends, and seek to put in place safeguards to prevent the issue from recurring. Owning up to an error can be scary and painful.  But pointing out when bad things happen or might happen can be a powerful relationship builder.  The stronger the guardrails you put in place to keep bad things from happening, the stronger your relationships can end up being.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of the  upcoming book “Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results” and  “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”