Why Great Leaders Admit Their Mistakes


Adorning the role of a leader is more often a team-play than a one-man army. However, many leaders allow their egos and hidden agendas maneuver the steering of leadership. This not only hampers organizational growth but also stands in the way of doing what is best for people who serve the organization. Such leaders also believe that they are always accountable for being right.  Conversely, a true leader is responsible to see that every problem has a solution or an opportunity to it which keeps the momentum going.

Making mistakes is a part of a leadership journey. This doesn’t mean being a reckless leader. It means being responsible for why things didn’t work out in your favor and in what way could you have approached a problem. A responsible leader also knows the subject-matter experts in the team and empowers them during the crisis so that no unpredicted situation befalls the organization.

 To be a great leader is an ongoing process and to make sure you are developing as one, here are some reasons why admitting to your mistakes is essential.

Vulnerability Fortifies the Team

The vulnerability is a sign of strong leadership, yet many leaders hide behind their title and are hesitant towards being vulnerable to the fear of being perceived as weak. They believe that vulnerability will undermine their executive presence and lower their authoritative pedestal. Unknowingly, this creates a rift between leaders and their teams. Team members often want to relate to their leaders as individuals and want to know that they too have experienced similar obstacles to get to where they are today.  A leader who admits to their mistakes bridges this gap and elevates a deeper sense of accountability that can be shared with the team. This not only strengthens the core of the team, but everyone understands the value of having each other’s back.

Leads to Earning Respect

As a leader, your team doesn’t expect you to be perfect. They solely require your undivided attention and provide them the trust to be reliable on you. When leaders are honest about their shortcomings and learn from their mistakes, they earn the respect of the team and create a much-needed environment of transparency.

Respected leaders are not afraid to challenge the status quo and take bold initiatives. Yes, they fear the consequences of a decision going wrong. But playing it supremely safe can never earn anybody’s respect. Trust and respect are theirs who adorn the role of a real leader and tackle difficult situations to achieve success. They know how to seize opportunities, anticipate changes and take actions courageously.

Elevates Employee Engagement

Taking up difficult challenges and situations is a sign of leadership strength. Great leaders don’t shy away from taking risks. What others might often see as a leap of faith, leaders orchestrate opportunities out of it. They readily take on the responsibility to face obstacles, admit their mistakes if they fail and learn from their experiences. Such leaders lead by examples. They encourage their employees to make decisions regardless the fear of making a wrong one. This elevates employee engagement and empowers them to take more initiatives with the fact they might not always be right.

Establish a Culture of Trust

Leaders who admit to their errors, learn from it, earn the respect of their team members and lead by example, ultimately create a culture of trust. This culture-type promotes clarity of thoughts, greater workforce alignment, allows employees to live with an entrepreneurial attitude, and stimulates innovation and growth. People no longer like surprises at the workplace. With every decision and relationship made, they want to operate in an environment which creates a safety net and encourages truth and transparency. This means, leaders are not only required to share the downfalls and agendas of the company but are trusted to safeguard its ongoing legacy too.

Mistakes are often learnings in disguise. Learning from your mistakes means widening your knowledge horizon and creating new opportunities. New opportunities lead to experiences which makes it easier to identify problems. This process glorifies a leader’s career growth and advances the capacity of their team members and the organisation they serve.