Recently, I noticed that one of the boutique hotel properties I own had an out-of-date promotion on its website. This wasn’t a good discovery, since an expired deal makes the business look bad—showing customers what they can no longer have. While I wasn’t pleased with the situation, my focus wasn’t on who to blame, but on making sure it was remedied and wouldn’t happen again. Luckily, the property manager responsible for the mistake was already on it. In true WOW leader fashion, she accepted responsibility immediately and began setting procedures in motion to ensure the slip-up wouldn’t be repeated again.

The mistake was one of those mistakes that can happen in every business. The manager had recently been given too many new tasks and she was juggling a full plate with more stress and responsibility than in the past. When I read the email where she took responsibility for the mistake I was elated. In fact, a smile came over me. This manager took responsibility for a mistake that could have been passed on to someone else through finger pointing or skilled blaming. Instead, she said, “I am responsible for the promotions that get put on the website. …I apologize if that looks bad for the company….”

She didn’t leave it there. She explained how she would establish a system with her staff so it wouldn’t happen again.

Her management style is that of a millennial future WOW leader. Make that, she is a WOW leader!

Why is it important for a leader to accept responsibility for what goes wrong? Accepting responsibility shows:

Character –When a leader takes responsibility for something her team did wrong you know that that leader possess character as an individual. If a leader accepts the bad it defines her mental and moral qualities as being above reproach.

Integrity – A leader who admits to that which could be swept under the company’s radar is a leader who is honest with sound principles that define her as a leader who can lead any team

Awareness – A leader reports to someone and when that someone sees accountability she also sees an awareness of what is going on. Sure, important things get over looked, but what matters is being aware of what is being overlooked.

Control – A leader may think that they are in control, but it isn’t until they realize and accept a negative outcome do they show that they have control. Pushing a problem into a hidden zone shows that the leader doesn’t have control or is unable to take control and rectify the mistake.

In this article I celebrate the General Manager, Kelsea, who showed incredible WOW leadership when she saw what was done wrong and immediately took responsibility for the mistake. She has also given me the motivation to make sure others know what makes a WOW leader.

By the way, Kelsea manages two of the top unique-lodging properties in the United States: Volcano Village Lodge and Palm Springs Rendezvous. While the awards are an honor, what matters most to me is that my business is in the hands of an aspiring WOW leader who is a credit to the up and coming millennial generation. For all leaders, whether new and seasoned, accepting responsibility–even when things go wrong—is the only way to remain a WOW.

Action Steps You Can Take Today

1. If something goes wrong be a WOW leader and accept it.

2. When something goes wrong, and it will, don’t give excuses, give solutions.

3. Celebrate those who are leading by example. SSA

Staak Headshot Photo

Staak has a BS in Marketing from the University of Central Florida and has participated in programs at Thunderbird School of Global Management at the University of Michigan, the Ross School of Business and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Her affiliations include the Healthcare Business Women’s Association (HBA), Life Science Professionals, U.S. Biotechnology Professionals and the UpJohn/Pharmacia/Pfizer Network. Her new book Tune In to WOW Leadership is available on (January 6, 2015) as well as at other fine booksellers. For more information, vist:, or visit her Facebook at www.facebook/The Staak