Mistakes may be the latest trend in leadership excellence. If you’re a skilled and savvy leader set on revitalizing a division, organization or brand, then perhaps you’re genetically predisposed to success and doing so in a way that bucks the norm. And that can lead to mistakes.
But that is A-OK!
“The stereotypical, larger-than-life, charismatic CEO who never makes mistakes … only exists in urban legends,” According to Elena Lytkina Botelho, consultant at ghSMART, a Chicago-based management consulting firm.
The word “mistake” conjures up many definitions, but it is no longer followed by a red flag. Leaders who push the limits (in a good way) and take risks know that mistakes are part of the game. And what makes a great leader is when they own their mistakes and learn from them.
So what does it take to leverage mistakes into outstanding leadership?
It begins with stoking the fire in your belly. You have to harness the drive, approach each day optimistically and be intensely focused on rallying your team forward. This also includes developing vision and buy-in and continually exercising your leadership muscles in order to grow your career as a leader.
If you’ve outlined your strategic plan in a way that your team understands how their contributions will purposefully impact the overall vision, then you’re well on your way.
But this isn’t limited to peak team performance. It’s all about pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and recognizing that healthy risks bring huge rewards. It’s also about exercising your leadership muscles in new ways.
When you exercise, you build muscles. It’s not always easy to lift weights and do cardio work, but there are huge benefits including survival. The same can be said about leadership. Whether you manage a team or are a leader in your own career, you need to exercise and build your leadership muscles.
I have a client who wants to be seen as a rising leader. To do so, she needs to build her leadership muscles by exercising leadership actions. For example, she wanted to be seen more as a leader in meetings. So, she decided that in meetings she would lean in and speak up to ensure she has a voice. Sure, she’s made her share of mistakes, but it’s how she learns and how she’s also garnered respect.
Speaking up wasn’t a habit of hers. Now, it is. She’s also finding new ways to exercise her leadership muscles, including participating in leadership events and improving her communication and personal style.
Building leadership muscles takes work and dedication. If you want to be seen as a leader then be prepared to make mistakes.
It’s what you do afterward that counts.
Start by pushing your ego aside. Leaders who are authentic and approachable are the leaders teams will follow to the ends of the earth. So be accountable, be humble and be honest. Then use this mistake as a powerful learning moment for you and your team.
How To Be Career Happy? Be Okay With Making Mistakes