***This article is inspired by chapter 12 of John C. Maxwell’s book Leadership Gold –
“Your Biggest Mistake Is Not Asking What Mistake Your Making.”***
You’re going to make mistakes. You can’t avoid that.
However, you can avoid making the same mistakes by seeking help from your followers.
As a leader, you must set your ego to the side, be vulnerable, and ask those closest to you for help in exposing your blind spots.
Here’s the deal…they already see them, so denying they exist won’t help anyone!
John. C. Maxwell wrote in Leadership Gold, “To get maximum attention, make a big mistake. To cause maximum damage, fail to admit it.”
When you lead others, you will say the wrong thing or use the wrong tone of voice or speak out of turn or…
You get the point.
So, how do you simultaneously learn from your mistakes AND gain greater leadership credibility?
1 – Admit when you are wrong.
You’re not perfect. Neither are your followers. No one needs to pretend they are. When you make a mistake, admit it. Apologize when necessary.
2 – Learn from your mistakes.
Regardless of how successful you become or what role you serve in, take the posture of a student who is willing to learn. Then do what you can to avoid repeating mistakes over and over.
3 – Ask for feedback.
Followers are often afraid to tell you bad news. Unless you solicit their thoughts, they will often let you continue making mistakes for fear of retribution. Ask for their insights periodically so you can develop a positive feedback loop that helps you and the organization get better.
4 – Allow for pushback.
You may have an initial idea, but ask for opinions to refine it. Ask what other ways your task or goal can be accomplished. Give your followers ownership by allowing them to speak freely so the end result is optimal.
5 – Be humble and approachable.
If you are arrogant and unapproachable, followers will never help you become better. They will hide, avoid eye contact, and refuse to be honest with you. Carry yourself in a humble, approachable manner that invites valuable feedback.
In order to grow as a leader and develop greater credibility with your followers, you must be intentional with the above actions. You will not drift into becoming better. You need the help of others, but it won’t come without you asking for it.
Leadership is a team sport, not a solo act. Include your followers in your development as you also seek to help them develop.
When you attempt anything worthwhile, you will make mistakes, but long-term success requires you to learn from them.
Followers don’t need perfect leaders. They don’t exist. Rather, they need leaders of high character who lead from a growth mindset.
You can be that kind of leader.
Until next time…make today GREAT!
P.S. If you need help developing a personal growth plan or implementing a leadership development program for your team, please contact me. I’d love to talk with you to determine how I can help!