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Admitting Weakness

 

Disciplines > Leadership > Leadership actions > Admitting Weakness

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Hold up your hand and admit that you are not perfect. Occasionally give examples of mistakes and vulnerabilities and either laugh at your own foolishness or just be straight about it.

Where possible, show how you addressed the problems created and fixed the system so the mistake will not happen again.

Generally avoid admitting weaknesses in areas which are core parts of your job, unless you have little choice.

Example

A senior manager wryly admits to having got a speeding ticket.

A faulty shipment goes out to a customer. The Quality Manager admits responsibility and shows how she has strengthened the final QA system.

Discussion

Admitting weakness and vulnerability portrays you as a human and hence encourages others (who know they have weaknesses too) to be sympathetic and to bond more closely with you.

Admitting weakness also displays confidence in yourself and others, trusting that they will not attack you. In this way it can also be a display of power.

When you fail big, it can be a dilemma as to whether to own up. Doing so, when it is clearly to your disadvantage, shows integrity and at least gives you the moral high ground.

Some very important people, including presidents, have admitted weakness and still survived, sometimes even with an enhanced reputation.

See also

Confidence principle

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