I’d like to offer a hearty AMEN! to Brian Smith’s comment on Heath’s post. In fact, I’d say that a person who appears to be flawless as a leader is automatically suspect, because we all know that there’s no such thing as a perfect human being.
Brian says, “Personally, I’d rather follow a leader who is willing to face such OS! moments head-on, instead of someone who just hopes they’ll ‘work themselves out.'”
Here’s a great way to face your own OS!Ms head on–or, more acurate, a way to create one for yourself in order to benefit your team:
- Gather your team together, stand up in front and say, “Please tell me what I need to do to improve as the leader of this team. Make a list of specifics on flipchart paper. Anything–and I mean anything–goes.”
- Leave the room.
- When they’re done, take a deep breath, re-enter and read.
- Don’t defend, make excuses for, or justify anything that you see on the list (or–you never know–lists). Just ask questions for clarity, if need be.
- Say thank you.
- Make a few commitments right then and there that you know you can keep.
- Keep your commitments. (Provide proof, in other words.)
We follow human beings, not idealized icons of unattainable perfection, so your vulnerability gives us the opportunity to connect with you human to human, and a strong human connection engenders commitment and loyalty, the elements that every leader longs for in his or her team. Your willingness to put yourself at risk, to admit with your actions that youre an imperfect human being just like the rest of usand that youre committed to your own continuous improvementwill create a bond that people will never forget or take for granted. More important, through your own example, you will establish a new standard of open and honest communication that will enable your team to talk about their own shortcomings, ask for help, and learn from their individual and collective mistakes at an accelerated pace.
Are you willing to give it a try?