Leaders make mistakes… We are midway through the term and I am realizing that I am not teaching leadership but mentoring a group of young leaders, each at different points in their journey. I am learning to lay aside my expectations so that I can meet people where they are. I am appreciating the opportunity I have to participate in the growth and development of these emerging leaders.
I am appreciating the opportunity to see growth and development in my own life. If you stand in the place of a mentor/leader you have to walk in the paths you want others to walk. You have to model the way. You have to “do what you say you will do”; to quote Paulo Coelho: “the world is changed by your example not by your opinion.”
Leaders make mistakes… A recent example. In order to facilitate the success of one of my classes I chose to copy some materials that should not have been copied. A small thing? Perhaps. Small choices can be the ones that set us on the slippery slope to greater disaster. I knew I had to acknowledge to my class this wrong choice. I was further encouraged and challenged to choose the path of humility – owning up to my wrong choice – by the writing of one of my students. He was reflecting on the importance of choosing to act on his values/principles of honesty and integrity even if it meant losing his present job! He was beginning to apply some of his understanding of what it meant to be a leader “from the inside out”. I apologized to my class the next time we met.
Leaders make mistakes and poor choices. How we handle our mistakes and what we learn from them will impact our growth and determine our influence. Humility comes before honor.
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