One of my worst fails in leadership ever

The rules of the team were clear. And these rules had been communicated. I knew what I was doing was wrong and I did it anyways.

For a leadership team to operate effectively it must be bound to certain parameters, one of which is confidentiality. It is inappropriate to take certain conversations beyond the bounds of the group.There needs to be fence lines within which the team operates. In this situation, like a wild stag, I busted right through ‘em!

I disagreed with a decision that the team had made. I carried this decision outside of the team. It was wrong.

Pastor Steve approached me before a Sunday night softball game. He verified that what he had heard elsewhere was correct, that I had carried this decision outside of the team. I had. He made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that this was not okay. I apologized. Then he forgave and told me, “I will never bring this up again” unless for some reason I felt a need to readdress it. And he hasn’t.

I learned an important lesson that day. Yes. Confidentiality should be upheld. But I already knew that. What I learned was how a leader handles failure beneath them is CRITICAL to how far they will go in leadership.

Those who handle failure well will carry them much further as a leader than those who cannot.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Leaders don’t get their identity from those they’re leading. If Steve had, he would have handled this situation much differently. As it was, he was hardly phased by my misjudgment. It didn’t paralyze, anger, or embitter him. He forgave and moved on.
  2. Leaders deal with failure head on. They don’t sweep it under their rug. They address it. Steve did so, even if it meant taking time before a softball game.
  3. Leaders put their character on display in such situations. It is not enough to make the right decision, such as keeping or removing a person from a position. The manner in which these things are discussed and communicated is vital. I’ve seen terrible leadership as a result of careless speech.
  4. Leaders give second chances. If a leader is unwilling to give second chances then they fall outside my definition of leader. They may still qualify to be a boss, executive, or manager. But they’re not a leader. Part of what makes a leader is a commitment to invest in others for their good and not strictly because of what these people can give.

QUESTIONS: Have you had any epic fails? How’d those who were leading you handle your mistake?

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Posted on by Cor in LEADERSHIP

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