Confession is good for the soul, right? If that is true, then here is a confessional moment. I have made many mistakes in the many leadership roles that I have had over the years. Fortunately, I didn’t make all of these at the same time! And some of them, I still make from time to time. However, leadership is as much of a journey as it is a destination. So, I continue on.
Nevertheless, here are a few mistakes that I have made, but more importantly, I have learned from. Maybe you will learn from them also.
I have often allowed poor performance from staff when I know they are capable of better performance or more output. Am I doing everything that I can do to get the most and the best out of them? So, I ask myself now – Am I doing everything that I can do to get the most and the best out of them?
I have tolerated unacceptable behavior, sometimes for a very long time. Here again is an area where it is important to resolve conflict and not merely manage through it. Depending on the situation and the person’s role in the organization, you may need “allies” or some of their peers to establish acceptable standards and to set limits. Most often, the imagined outcome is not near as bad as we imagine it will be. So, I ask myself now – What’s the worst that could happen if I take a stand with this person?
I have often avoided telling people what I really think because they might not like it. Of course, you need to assess timing and appropriateness. But I find (and I see it everywhere that I look) that many seasoned leaders still shy away from candor out of a fear of conflict. So, I ask myself now – Can I find one thing to be more candid about with those that I lead?
I have been known to take a weak or anxious stand, which is the obverse of not taking a stand at all. When we’re afraid to say what we think, when we delay, and then when we finally do address the issue, it can come out with a sharp tone and cutting edge. So, I ask myself now – When I need to say something clearly, how can I say it and still preserve the dignity of the one that I am addressing?
I am guilty taking criticism too seriously, and too personally. Let’s face it. Leaders get criticized – a lot. This is especially true when they step up and lead. It’s part of the job description, even in churches or volunteer organizations. So, I ask myself now – What can I do to cultivate a thicker skin or gain greater self-confidence?
So, I have confessed. Is anyone else guilty along with me? If so, what are your thoughts? How have you learned from the experience of confessing? Do you want to know a secret? Your followers probably already know your weaknesses and areas where you have failed. And they still are following you, aren’t they?