The 6 words most leaders fear, but shouldn’t

This post originated on my Substack here.

Most leaders fear being wrong. We’ve all been there. But, the thing is, leaders are wrong, often. I confess I’m wrong, often. Being wrong is ok, even good. Being wrong means, we are taking risks, trying new things, and failing. Being wrong means we are growing, changing, and improving. Being wrong isn’t a failure; it’s an opportunity.

Most leaders hate being wrong, and because of that, fear these 6 words:

  • I was wrong.
  • I don’t know.

Being willing to say, “I was wrong,” is hard but incredibly important in leadership. The best leaders are self-aware. They make mistakes, can recognize the mistake early, and choose to fix it.

Being willing to say, “I don’t know,” is even harder. Leaders are in positions of leadership to lead. Saying, “I don’t know,” is usually seen as not leading and is therefore completely counter to the leader’s reason for being there. But, the concept of the fearless leader that always knows exactly what to do is flawed. A great leader knows what they don’t know, doesn’t over-index their abilities, and trusts their team.

These are tough phrases for leaders, but they are important ones. We must embrace them, being willing to admit our wrongs, and enthusiastic about trusting our teams.

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