In the past, people served machines. Today, machines free people to do what technology can’t: sell, service, and lead. As we explore this global shift from the industrial to the digital age, we cordially invite your voice in Developing the 21st Century Workforce™.
By: Chris Blauth
A creative group working at or with Nike in the late 1980’s coined and marketed the now-famous slogan “Just do it.” Since then, Nike’s marketing engine has continued to define what “it” is and looks like in the behaviors and accomplishments of popular athletes at the top of their game.
For leaders, an equally important slogan should be “Just admit it.” The question in the case of leaders, naturally, is what is “it”?
Recently, AchieveGlobal fielded a global survey as the capstone to a comprehensive study of peer-reviewed business and leadership journals as well as focus groups with mid- and senior managers. We pinpointed what leaders need to fess up to: their mistakes. More broadly, successful leaders admit and accept responsibility for their own mistakes.
In today’s business landscape and economic turmoil, admitting and accepting mistakes seems logical. Who doesn’t want to see a leader come forward and be accountable for his or her hubris and egregious mistakes? What’s fascinating, though, is that in 2003 – when the economy appeared healthy and leaders were not under the type of attacks happening today – another AchieveGlobal study found that leaders who freely admit their mistakes appear “real” or “genuine.” What’s more, such “genuine leaders” inspire trust and gain the commitment of their teams and peers. Simply put, admitting mistakes is an evergreen facet of leadership.
Have you seen leaders circumventing the need to admit mistakes and accept responsibility? And what positive examples can you cite? Post your thoughts here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would be wonderful if leaders never made mistakes, but that’s not possible.
So leaders: Just admit it!