I admit that I’m wrong often. I’m ok with it, mainly because I’m wrong, often, there’s no sense pretending otherwise. Being wrong doesn’t bother me, it gives me the chance to improve. Being wrong means I’m taking risks that have the potential to grow me and the organization. Being wrong means learning is taking place, not just for me, but for my team as well.
As a leader, and as someone who is wrong often, I recognize the need to fall on my sword at times. Sometimes it’s not just me that is wrong, but my team collectively. When my team makes a collective decision that turns out to be wrong, I take the blame. I’m the one that leads the team, so the team’s mistake is my mistake, and I own it.
When the team makes a mistake, and I’m able to step in to fall on my sword I’m protecting them. I protect them from clients that are upset and take the heat. I protect them from other team members that might point a finger. I also protect them from themselves, from getting down on themselves and feeling like they are a failure. A mistake doesn’t make you a failure; it just means you failed, and it’s time to try again.
My hope is that when I fall on my sword for the team, it encourages them. It shows them that taking a risk is ok and that I have their back. It shows them that mistakes aren’t career ending and that experimentation is not only accepted, but encouraged. It also shows them that there is no shame in being wrong.
Being wrong is a part of growth. In fact, it’s the catalyst for the best growth of all!