Much is written and spoken about one of the main roles of leaders is to model what they expect from their people.
Many examples of behaviors can be identified, such as Trust; Honesty; Vision; Communication etc. There are many others – indeed a list too long to write down here.
And yet one of the most important attitudes that leaders must model is the capacity to be imperfect too. Being able to appreciate, admit to and provide solutions to performance shortcomings is a vital characteristic to show up with in the role.
Imperfection is actually quite an asset. The challenge is being prepared first to notice that not everything goes to plan or certain aspects of the leadership role don’t come easily.
Sometimes, we get too close to our own performance (notice I didn’t mention that our ego can get in our way!) and whilst it would be good to think we are pretty good at what we do, the truth – reality – can be much more accurate from a new perspective.
By asking those we lead to give us feedback on where our gaps are, we succeed on two fronts.
Firstly we get honest feedback that enables us to change and grow our performance – yes, even as a leader.
Secondly, the asking, listening to and acting on the feedback our people take the time – and often courage – to give us builds the bond between us too.
Thirdly, when we take action on the feedback we receive, we improve and develop ourselves.
There’s another benefit too. When as leaders we admit to being less than perfect and seek the help of the team to help with that, they take a valuable lesson away with them and hopefully, are prepared to be imperfect too and share that with their own people, repeating the benefits down the line.