I wish I could tell you this will never happen to you… but leaders, there are going to be times when you completely and utterly biff it. I’m not talking about those really awkward moments when you forget someone’s name or when somebody on the tech team turns off the lights before you’re offstage and you have to crawl your way to the stairs to avoid falling down them. (Why, yes, that has actually happened to me – how did you know?) I’m talking about those moments when “#fail” is the only thing that can describe what happened just there – a fail so big it deserves a hashtag.
Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. You – yes, you. You’re going to #fail.
Because you’re human. And we do.
Earlier this spring, I had one such #fail moment with someone I lead. I accused her – in an email – of doing something she hadn’t done.
Let’s break it down a bit and isolate everything that went wrong right there:
Good grief. I know better than that. But it didn’t stop me from being a jerk. And let me tell you – I felt terrible once I realized what I’d done.
First, some object lessons:
The heart of my leadership #fail was that I let wounded pride from a perceived slight drive my emotions and I reacted unwisely. It was one of the most uncaring things I’ve done as a leader, and I am really grateful that the person on the receiving end of my temper that day was as grace-full in responding to it as she was. We did the hard work of talking it through, with a lot of tears on both sides, and our commitment to working through it until we both understood what had happened and why has actually strengthened our relationship. Neither one of us would have chosen that as a path forward into a better friendship or working relationship – but it got us there.
And that brings us to the point of the story: what do you do with a leadership #fail?
Let Christ lead you thru your #fail moments – and you will be an even better leader on the other side of them, because He can use those moments to make you even more like Him.
"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else." —Fred Rogers via @momentumdash
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"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Einstein