Leadership mistakes. You have to expect to make them. Any leader who says they have never made any mistakes is a liar.

Stepping into a leadership role means putting yourself out there, taking hold of responsibility and making decisions. As the leader not everyone will agree with you for any number of different reasons. Maybe they consider you have acted too hastily or without due diligence. Sometimes it’s because you have got it wrong, made a mistake, other times they feel that way because you are right and they just don’t want to agree.

Either way, a good leader has to be willing to learn and develop better self-awareness. I am on that journey.

I’m sure others would be more than willing to share my misdemeanours but I’m going to get in first. Here is a list of some of mine. Each one of these has a story, which means it relates to a person or team, which could mean there is a hurt attached too.

  • Disregarding the thoughts & feelings of other people
  • Not listening properly
  • Too hands on or too hands off. Control (conveniently placed under the cover of systems & processes)
  • Being in a hurry
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Lack of feedback. Both kinds. Appreciation and correction when appropriate
  • Thinking that only I know the answer
  • Inappropriate lifestyle decisions

My mistakes demonstrate my humanness. They are not pretty. When I think about some of these, I cringe a little. In my early days of leadership I wasn’t too quick to recognise my mistakes, least of all, want to learn from them.

Nowadays I see the value in learning from the wrong. It builds credibility, develops my character,  creates trust and I am hopeful that as those I lead now see my willingness to learn they will have some grace towards me for the mistakes I may make in the future.

How have you learned from your mistakes?

2 thoughts on “My Leadership Mistakes

  1. A most excellent post – heartfelt, relevant, honest and yet challenging. (It feels like you took a risk with this one, let a little more of yourself out, iykwim.) We all make mistakes – a leader learns from their mistakes and allows others to learn too. It links with the idea of being teachable, but also the role of mentors and accountability.

    I could see you following this up with a post about what happens when you’ve made a mistake – the difference between forgiveness and consequences, making it right, falling forwards, etc… (not saying you having to, just an idea…)

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