Stay up to date on everything mediation!

Subscribe to our free newsletter,
"This Week in Mediation"

Sign Up Now

Already subscribed No subscription today
<xTITLE>Bad Art and the Benefits of Owning Our Mistakes at Work</xTITLE>

Bad Art and the Benefits of Owning Our Mistakes at Work

by Lorraine Segal
February 2016

Conflict Remedy Blog by Lorraine Segal

Lorraine Segal

What can bad art teach us about successful relationships in the workplace?

One of the big issues that creates conflict at work and interfers with harmonious relationships, is many people’s inability to acknowledge their own mistakes.

I confess that perfectionism is one of my own shortcomings. I still sometimes want to prove to you and myself that I am perfect and don’t make mistakes. In my faulty thinking, there isn’t an iota of space between imperfect and horrible, so admitting I did something wrong means I am a complete failure. Instead, I, like many of my clients, want to defend and pretend, because the consequences feel devastating. Of course, the reality is, making a mistake and denying it, is infuriating to co-workers and managers and often leads to conflict, resentments, and negative consequences.

I have learned over the years, to accept that making mistakes is a natural and inevitable part of being human. For me and my clients, the issue isn’t whether we make mistakes, but how we deal with them. Our response, in part, determines the outcome, positive or negative.

I recently discovered some glorious examples of accepting and honoring mistakes at the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA). This virtual and physical museum proudly showcases astoundingly bad paintings,colorful, curiously compelling, and full of dreadful errors. This art would never be in a juried show or get even a “C” in art class.

But for people like me, this museum is an invigorating antidote to perfectionism. We are invited to be amused at the bad art and simultaneously celebrate it. Just think if we could do this with mistakes or imperfections in our relationships at work or elsewhere!

When we can reframe the meaning of mistakes, be willing to acknowledge them and take reparative action for our part, they become manageable and actually support honest and harmonious relationships at work.

By the way—some of the artists featured at MOBA have become successful after being willing to flaunt their mistakes. We never know what blessings and new learning our “mistakes” will bring.

Biography


Lorraine Segal, M.A. is a Conflict Management and Communication Consultant, Coach, and Trainer. Through her own business, Conflict Remedy, Ms. Segal works with corporations and non-profits as well as governmental entities and individuals to promote harmonious and productive workplaces. 

She is a consultant and trainer for County of Sonoma. And, at Sonoma State University, she is the curriculum designer and lead teacher for the new Conflict Management Certificate program. Ms. Segal was recently named one of the top 30 Conflict Resolution experts to follow on LinkedIn. She is also a contributing author to the forthcoming book, Stand Up, Speak Out Against Workplace Bullying.



Email Author
Author Website

Additional articles by Lorraine Segal

Comments