How often do you say, "Thanks for the feedback, I get it. And now that you mention it, that was totally my fault." Or, "Please accept my apologies, I completely dropped the ball on this." If you're like most people, you don't like to admit to mistakes. And who can blame you?

From an early age, we're taught mistakes are bad. Teachers reward us for correct answers and punish us with low grades for incorrect ones. When we make mistakes at home, our parents often yell, send us to our room, or reprimand us. In my case, I got a belt, belt buckle, fist, or, if I was lucky, the end of a broomstick (that was pretty mild compared to the others -- and if you grew up the way I did, you appreciated wider belts than the super-thin ones). 

So is it any wonder that we learned to deny, minimize, and deflect mistakes rather than own them? The irony is that admitting mistakes has the best rewards for you in the long term -- especially for your leadership style and building trust with those around you.

Looking at most great leaders -- creative artists, champion athletes, and successful entrepreneurs -- they all have one thing in common: They take ownership of errors. They don't pass the buck. Tom Brady doesn't blame the water boy when he can't make a pass. Starbucks's CEO doesn't blame his store manager when people of color are kicked out of a store. And John F. Kennedy didn't say it was the Republicans' fault for the Bay of Pigs fiasco. They all took ownership of their actions, and it created more trust over time. 

If you want to become a better leader, it starts by being accountable for your actions. Ultimately, we are involved in creating, promoting, or allowing each situation we find ourselves in. When we realize this, it's quite empowering, actually. Otherwise, if it's not our fault, we're really saying we are victims. Following so far?

Here's Why Disowning Your Errors Doesn't Work.

It creates a culture of fear: When you don't take account of your errors as a leader, you create a lack of trust in the organization and a culture of blame. Leaders who can't lead with trust tend to lead with fear, instead. The problem with leading by fear is it makes everything worse in your organization. 

According to organizational change expert and best-selling author Robert Sutton, fear leads to silence. When people are afraid to talk, they don't mention problems that could affect productivity. And they stop helping each other. This sucks because if your team is unhappy, that really sucks, right? Oh wait, there's more: Your profits go down.

Mistakes are repeated in such a scenario. When no one takes accountability for their errors, there is little improvement. The key to learning -- be it martial arts, team sports, sales, or leadership -- is owning your errors. If you don't admit the mistake to yourself, then how can you ever improve on it? Improvement plus deliberate practice equals: You may not repeat the error. Step No. 1 is admitting you made the error. Likewise, people in your organization will repeat mistakes, or cover up mistakes, if there is no accountability.

Here's Why Taking Ownership of Errors Improves Your Business Outcomes.

It builds stronger relationships. Trust is the most important characteristic of a leader, according to a survey conducted for the best-selling book The Leadership Challenge. The authors, James Kouzes and Barry Posner, say employees want their leaders to be honest because a leader's honesty is a reflection of their own honesty.  

You might think as a leader, you need to never fail in order for people to follow you. However, you can build more faith in your leadership by admitting your mistakes, according to emotional intelligence expert and author of Performance Under Pressure, Dr. J.P. Pawliw-Fry. By admitting your errors, you show your vulnerability, which increases trust with your team. 

It also creates a positive work culture of accountability. The best work environments are ones where leaders are accountable. According to a survey by Gallup, researchers found that two of the top five qualities of great managers were: creating a culture of accountability, and fostering trust and open communication. At our firm, accountability is one of our core values and it's been transformational.

When you can admit your failures, you create a culture of trust and growth. People feel safe giving and receiving feedback. Candor is at the heart of good management and positive work culture, according to communication expert Kim Scott, author of Radical Candor. Imagine being a leader who can tell someone that they personally messed up, that it's OK to mess up, and that in this organization, you can mess up, too. It's liberating.

Taking ownership of your errors can be hard. No one wants to say: "That's totally my fault." However, in the long term, admitting fault will improve your business outcomes. You can build stronger relationships with your team by fostering a culture of accountability in your organization, so everyone can improve and your business can thrive.

Take a risk, try it out. Let me know how it goes. I'll be surprised if your outcomes and trust with your team don't improve.