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Mistakes Are a Gift

Tips for Leaders

Teddy Roosevelt is quoted as once saying, “He who makes no mistakes, makes no progress.” This belief is clearly expressed in The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®, specifically Challenge the Process and its associated commitment: experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience. So, make it a point to observe how you react to mistakes. If you think about it, the times you learned the most were no doubt when things did not go as planned. Do you admit to your mistakes? Do you apologize when appropriate? Are you defensive? Ask a trusted friend’s opinion as well.

If you react badly or make no mistakes at all, you may be considered “unteachable” to those around you. Take on a perspective of being a life-long learner. Work to become comfortable making mistakes. Accept the feedback. Apologize when appropriate. Learn from the inevitable errors that occur.

Adapted from A Coach’s Guide to Developing Exemplary Leaders 2e, © 2017 by John Wiley and Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by The Leadership Challenge, A Wiley Brand.


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