The universal fear that acknowledging our missteps will be read as weakness almost always turns out to mistaken. Far more typically, it increases trust — and makes us feel better about ourselves.
Instead, we too often view the opposite of “doing” as “not doing,” and then demonize inaction. In fact, good judgment grows out of reflection, and reflection requires the sort of quiet time that gets crowded out by the next demand.
So here’s the conundrum: Each of us requires critical feedback to get better at anything, but most criticism feels like condemnation, judgment, disapproval and disparagement. In short, it’s painful and destabilizing. So what is a leader or a manager to do?
When leaders openly accept the whole of who they are – for better and for worse – they no longer have to defend their value so vigilantly. I make missteps and mistakes as a leader, and they’re often a reflection of the same overused strengths and blind spots I’ve been struggling with my whole life.
The problem is that buying people’s time is no guarantee you’ll get their best efforts. No amount of money will ever be sufficient to meet all employees’ needs at work.