Your time as a leader will be defined and remembered in certain ways, using certain words, recalling particular events and remembering specific actions. And every single person will likely have a slightly varied version of your leadership story. It’s clear you can’t control everything every single person remembers, and it’s really not worth your time to try – but it is within your control and worth your time to define the leader you’d like to be.
Now, I’ve written other articles about defining yourself as a leader – so I’d like to focus on something specific today: righting your wrongs.
How do you make right when you’ve done wrong? How do you act? How do you react? Who do you tell? How do you communicate? What steps do you take to correct your mistake? What mistakes do you make in the meantime? How quickly do you come to terms with the error of your ways? Are you quick to blame or do you resort to shame? How often do you make the same mistake more than once? How do you discover when you’ve gone wrong? How do you treat others when you’re in the process of correcting yourself?
These questions matter. Your answers matter more.
Not too long ago, I stumbled across an article on Michael Hyatt’s blog called “The One Essential Habit of Every Effective Leader” by guest blogger, Jeff Goins. He had a sentence that struck gold – as he put it, “Leadership, as it turns out, is really the act of making intentional decisions and accepting responsibility for them.”
I couldn’t agree more. Do what you need to do – and then… apologize when necessary, correct yourself when you catch your mistakes, and get on with the show. The reason the first six words of this sentence matter the most is because too many leaders are afraid of making mistakes so they simply stop making decisions altogether. That strikes me as oddly ironic – we all know things can’t get done when a leader stops taking the reigns. (Well, they can get done – but not as effectively, successfully or efficiently as they can be done with a good leader navigating the way.)
As a leader, you’ll have to make tough decisions, determine close calls, pull out all the stops, and get down to business. Leadership isn’t made for the complacent; it’s for the courageous – the bold -those with tenacity and audacity. So, what do you need to risk today to make decisions that will matter tomorrow?