The leaders who inspire me bring out the best in the people around them.
Leadership is not about perfect people surrounding themselves with other perfect people, marching in lockstep toward exceeding their goals. Leadership is about people making mistakes together, learning lessons, then making better mistakes.
The leaders who inspire me give themselves opportunities to make mistakes. They set challenging goals, and bring out the best in people working to meet them. They appreciate the value of saying, “Yes, I know it is hard,” and “Together, we can do this.” They recognize the importance of trying to accomplish things you are not certain you can do.
I have worked with people whose most important strength was that they refused to see that what they wanted to do was impossible. They did not have people with the skills they needed. They did not have the time or other resources it would take to meet their goals. They did not have enough experience to know that what they set out to do could not be done.
Without the key essentials, they were willing to try things to see what would happen. They were willing to make mistakes, gain insights, then try something else.
The leaders who inspire me often have a much clearer picture of what we want to do, or where we want to go, than how we are going to do it.
It is easy for us to expect ourselves to know the right answers before we begin. We hold ourselves back because we do not want anyone to see us make a mistake.
Leadership is not about avoiding mistakes. Leadership is about making better mistakes than we have ever made before.
Which mistakes are you willing to make?
Are you making better mistakes today than you did yesterday?
[Image by Eric Fleming]