Embracing Imperfection

I recently went into a meeting that I hadn’t prepared well enough for. When I asked a colleague how he thought it went, he paused for what seemed like the longest minute, and I thought, “This is not good.” Eventually, his response was, “Well, it wasn’t a disaster,” which means it wasn’t good at all.

I was so disappointed in myself. My ego was bruised, and I had a lump in my throat trying to hold back my emotions. It was an internal meeting, and it wasn’t a big deal, but I am a perfectionist and I put a lot of pressure on myself. My inner critic can be really harsh at times, telling me that I’m not good enough, that I look like I have no idea what I’m doing, and that I’m not good at my job. All of which are not true. My inner critic always goes to the worst-case scenario. When this happens, my first step is becoming aware of the thoughts, and the second is to reframe those thoughts and tell myself that it’s okay to make mistakes—it’s necessary, actually. And here is why:

·      Fostering a Learning Culture: When leaders demonstrate comfort with making mistakes, they create an environment where learning thrives. By embracing mistakes as opportunities for growth and encouraging open discussion around them, leaders inspire their teams to take risks, learn from failures, and innovate.

·      Building Resilience: Mistakes are an inevitable part of the journey to success. Leaders who are comfortable with making mistakes develop resilience and tenacity. They bounce back from setbacks, adapt their strategies, and inspire their teams to persevere in the face of challenges.

·      Enhancing Decision-Making Skills: Mistakes can provide valuable lessons that refine decision-making skills. Leaders who accept mistakes as learning opportunities gain insights into what works and what doesn’t. They develop the ability to make better-informed decisions, relying on experience and wisdom gained from past missteps.

·      Building Trust and Authenticity: Leaders who openly acknowledge and learn from their mistakes build trust with their teams. Admitting fallibility and taking ownership of mistakes demonstrates authenticity and vulnerability, fostering stronger connections and mutual respect within the organisation.

Leadership is not about perfection but about inspiring growth and continuous improvement. By being comfortable with making mistakes, leaders create an environment where innovation thrives, resilience is nurtured, and teams are empowered to reach new heights of success.

I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences on embracing mistakes as a leader. How have mistakes shaped your leadership journey?

#LeadershipDevelopment #EmbracingMistakes #LearningCulture #GrowthMindset

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