“Pride leads to destruction, while humility is the path to redemption.”I said this recently, and probably stole it from somewhere.
One of the hardest things to do as a leader is to fess up to when we blow it. Recently, the most successful and fastest growing movement in the health and fitness sector began to collapse because the leadership couldn’t admit its failure. During the height of the pandemic, and escalating social and political unrest, a global fitness community was feeling disjointed and confused. Looking for empathy and leadership, this community was met with contempt and pride.
As leaders it is ok to not have all the answers, and hopefully it is still ok to make mistakes. However, leaders build trust by modelling what it looks like to take ownership when we blow it.
-Respond, don’t react.
-Be a non-anxious presence.
-Communicate quickly and often, even if only to inform that a more formal response is coming.
-If appropriate, confess without defending. Own your side without qualifying or pointing fingers. Even if others have a bigger part to own. Start with you.
-Do whatever is in your power to make it right.
-Listen well, as leaders sometimes we may have to let others beat on our chests a little, remain a non-anxious presence and reflect back on what you are hearing, gain understanding and perspective. Even if you disagree, we all value being heard.
Admitting wrongdoing has become a Purple Unicorn in public leadership amidst our newly woke cancel culture. But leaders who are game changers know admitting mistakes breeds unity and strength.