Leading Fully

Patrick Ogburn's Leadership Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Failure’

The whole family was together, gathered on the back patio and around the pool to celebrate my youngest son Jamie’s fifth birthday. My siblings and I were talking about the state of our economy and the political climate, which can hardly be discussed without emotion, especially among those of us who care about the future. As a family, we tend engage topics with passion and spirited debate. I engaged, and in short order, my brother and I were in a high-energy, full-on debate about nothing (interestingly, we agreed on this topic). As I look back on the incident, I’m embarrassed by my conduct.

One thing that leaders have in common with everyone else is that we are human. None of us has a 100% record in living up to our ideals. What differentiates a leader in such circumstances is what you do when you fail. Do you have the humility to take responsibility for your failures and the courage to make it right? If you are challenged (as I am) by that question, pick the thing that made the skin prickle on the back of your neck when you read the word “failure” – yeah, that one – and do something about it. Whether you need to get more honest with yourself about what you did or didn’t do, or whether you need to garner some courage and act, now is the time. Action is the only effective antidote for regret. Honesty, humility, and courage are required to make it work.