Ironically, leaders become stronger when they share their weaknesses.
Some leaders would rather eat a bug than admit to others they made a mistake or had a weakness. Exposing your own failures is not a sign of weakness. Hiding your failures is.
There is not a single person we lead who believes we are perfect. In fact, when we own up to our own weaknesses, we are rarely telling them anything they don’t already know.
It is counter-cultural among leaders to point out their own short-comings. We seem to feel if someone sees a weakness in us, then they will think less of us. Or, they might not trust us because we have exposed our soft white underbelly to others.
The decision to not expose our past mistakes and current short-comings actually accomplishes exactly what we are trying to avoid.
When we hide our frailties to people who already know what they are, we lose our chance of gaining the respect, the trust, and the allegiance of the people we are supposed to be leading.
When we admit our frailties to people who already know what those frailties are, what we gain is respect. We gain trust. We gain allies.
Why Do Leaders Hide Their Failures
Why do we avoid exposing our failures to others? There is only one real answer – PRIDE.
When you never admit to your failures or weaknesses, you absolve yourself of any responsibility for growing beyond the person you already are.
A leader who is not growing is a leader who is losing ground and will eventually lose the people she desires to have following her.
An interesting thing happens when you swallow your pride and begin to expose your weaknesses and failures to others – you begin to take ownership of them. You begin to grow and gain from others what you were afraid of losing – respect, trust, and allegiance.
The Bottom Line
Breaking the cycle of pride and developing the Habit of Character called Humility takes practice. Humility is like a muscle, you have to exercise it regularly or it will never gain strength. On the other hand, if you exercise pride, it will become a dominant habit in your character.
What are some simple exercises a leader can do to develop Humility to the point it is stronger than our pride?
Here are a few for your consideration.
Report your failures to your supervisor, your employees, your spouse, or your children. Don’t wait for them to discover them.
Tell your team you are not good at something, and ask someone to help you.
Apologize after losing your temper at work or at home.
If you screw up, admit it and share with others how you are going to fix it.
Laugh when you do something embarrassing instead of hiding it, running from it, or getting angry about it.
By exposing our failures and weaknesses to others, we strengthen our character. We strengthen our Humility. We strengthen the bonds of respect, trust, and allegiance that both the leader and the led want and need desperately.
What else does exposing our failures and weaknesses do for us?
Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you.
Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.
To take the assessment use the QR code above or go to www.MYCHARACTERTEST.com