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This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at

Regardless of how successful you are, you always make mistakes, and often they're errors in judgment. Missteps shape your character and are just as much a part of who you are as the successes. The important point is what you learn and how you recover from them.

These six faux pas helped shape me as a leader and moulded a set of values that I subsequently adhered to.

Being ill-prepared. In a previous article, I described how I responded to losing out on the race for president but still landed well. The mistake I made is that I didn't prepare well enough for the interview with the board. The area I screwed up was finance and I remember their body language as I answered their questions. Not good. I knew. I confronted future encounters differently.

Playing it tight. Holding stuff close to my chest. Not sharing. I was a marketing innovator; my organization continually came up with new programs but I didn't always share what we were doing with the executive team. I was criticized for the lack of communication by my peers through the 360 feedback process we used. I was blasted by them. They were right. And I listened. Things improved.

Talking without thinking. My boss made an executive appointment that I considered ridiculous and told him so. Brazen. Presumptuous. Risky. Stupid. I was surprised I wasn't fired on the spot. Take a deep breath before you say something you might regret. I apologized and muzzled my ego in future similar situations.

Rejecting weekend golf. Sounds crazy, right? But there are certain expectations that people have of an executive leader. A common one is that you will be available on the weekends to play some social golf with your peers and with customers. I wasn't prepared to take the time from my family. I never did. I made the choice. It was noticed. And I think it slowed me down.

Not lunching. If a meeting couldn't be held in my office then it probably wasn't all that important. People around me were shocked. What was I thinking? Every other executive lunched regularly. Was I leaving the company? It was seen as a lack of commitment by many.

Reduced networking. I didn't avail myself of all of the networking opportunities that were open to me. They could have consumed every non-office hour available. I viewed evening dinner events and hobnobbing affairs as a pain that robbed me of personal down time. I was extremely selective in the events I attended and had a robust network as a result. But it certainly could have been broader if I were an "event junkie" like others. Perhaps it was a career limiting factor but although my approach yielded a selective number of deep relationships, I may have benefited from a wider network of casual acquaintances.

Of course it is impossible to tell if any of these six choices limited my career, or whether it would have taken a different path. I spend little time thinking about what could have been, but perhaps if I had …

Roy Osing (@RoyOsing) is a former executive vice-president of Telus with over 33 years of leadership experience. He is a blogger, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead, dedicated to helping organizations and individuals stand out from the competitive herd.

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