Boris Yeltsin (February 1, 1931 â€“ April 23, 2007) was, from 1991 to 1999, the first president of the Russian Federation. Those who want more information about him and his background should check out Wikipedia. I’m focusing on the lesson in game production I recently picked from his actions.
In a past television news I happened to see (I say happened, because I usually avoid the news because of all the negativity) them showing a short video clip about Yeltsin and explaining that he had one major attribute, that made him stand out from many other presidents. Yeltsin was said to have publicly apologized from the people when he made mistakes. I think that’s an excellent lesson that any producer, leader, worker, or member in the team can use.
Let’s face it, everybody makes mistakes. I remember somebody saying something like: “If you are not making any mistakes, it’s unlikely that you are doing anything at all.” Mistakes and temporal failures are okay. (And for the record: I say temporal, because failures in reality are the stepping stones to success). Everybody makes mistakes, but not everybody is willing to admit when they’ve made one.
I appreciate people who are willing to ‘swallow their pride’ and apologize if needed. I’m not saying that everybody in the team should start saying “sorry, sorry, sorry” all time of the day. I’m simply pointing out that it’s not needed to be right all the time. It’s okay to swell your pride and admit if you’ve made a mistake.
When you take this kind of attitude in game production (or basically into any team work) you’ll notice couple of amazing things to happen. First thing is that it will become easier to deal with others. Getting from situation where nobody is taking responsibility and admitting if they’ve made mistakes to a situation where people are taking responsibility is simply amazing. It makes easier to discuss with others. This is one ingredient in creating a workplace where people stop hunting the one who caused the problem, and focus on solving the problem. If the team leader is being able to openly admit when he was wrong, the others will appreciate him more. Just compare this kind of behavior to the situation where the leader (or your boss) refuses to take any responsibility for any problems (since they were caused by somebody else, but never the leader). Does that make you appreciate your boss if he is not taking responsibility for his work?
A former Russian president got more appreciation from people due this simple action (admitting mistakes) and so can you.