Recently I watched a leader I have much respect for do something that many leaders struggle with. He humbled himself publicly and owned a mistake that had frustrated some people in the audience. He said, “I am sorry.” Immediately, the mood in the room changed. This man who has accomplished much gained a whole new level of respect from everyone in that room, all of whom are leaders themselves.
Why is it that many of us have such a hard time admitting when we are wrong and asking for forgiveness? I think that it’s a little counter-intuitive for most people. They think that as a leader they can never admit a mistake because it will make them look weak. The truth is that the exact opposite of that happens when a leader says I’m sorry. Respect is gained, followership is strengthened and the leader grows.
We all make mistakes, misjudgments and sometimes even wreak havoc that affects our followers. Our teams will look to us in these times to see how we respond. They need to hear us own up to it. They need to see us as humans. They need to hear us say “I am sorry.”
Have a great week!