Showing True Leadership
Admitting you’re wrong is no easy feat. Often you’ll find there is a cycle of emotions individuals will go through before, eventually, acknowledging their shortcomings – let alone taking the steps to rectify. But if we can’t even begin to acknowledge it’s there, how can we ever go about correcting it? I’ve previously spoken about the power of acknowledging and admitting when you’re wrong. It’s easy to imagine on an individual level what steps can be taken to correct wrong information. But what happens when we consider entire organisations? Being comfortable with the fact that you’re most likely going to be wrong. We looked at it from a personal point of view. Today, I want to look at it from an organisational perspective. It is really common for businesses to bury their heads in the sand about a truth or changing their stance on an issue until it becomes completely untenable, and by then the damage is already done. Damage to your brand, to your customer base and, more than likely, your profit margin. Yes they’re big, yes they can seem scary, but to me organisations are living organisms.
They have the ability to change and evolve over time, because an organisation can only be an extension of the people who work within it. And people change and evolve continuously. Let me give you an example of how quickly things can turn around when organisations are willing to put their hand up and admit they’ve got something wrong, and then importantly, take the steps to rectify.
I’ve been working with the Shire of Harvey and, previously, they had a very fractured relationship with their disability community. Essentially, they weren’t listening and respecting the feedback they were getting, and the community was getting frustrated at not being heard. Now, it could have been very easy for them to continue along the path they were on because “technically”, “legally” they were doing everything right by the book. But there’s a big difference between doing things by the letter of the law, and doing things properly. But the Shire of Harvey didn’t. They stopped, listened and reflected, and eventually acknowledged they were wrong. That in itself is a big step, one many organisations don’t take – especially so publicly. But why I want to highlight the Shire’s efforts is because they weren’t satisfied in leaving it there. They took the steps to rectify their actions. The taking action is what true leadership looks like – of admitting you’re not perfect, looking internally on how you can do better and then putting steps in place to improve. Despite what people might believe, vulnerability opens us up to positive change. Society doesn’t need perfect robots. We need human leaders, people who talk and act exactly as we do. No one is perfect, so why should our leaders be expected to be? They say the standard you walk past is the standard you’re willing to accept. If an organisation ignores it’s own shortcomings to project an image of perfection, it’s simply invoking a greater level of distrust. People are smarter than that, and they’ll show it through their wallets. The Shire of Harvey still has a long way to go, but where they’ve come since first acknowledging their shortcomings is amazing and they should be really proud of the progress they’ve made so far. What they’re open to doing now and the positive change it’s had on their relationship with their community is cause for celebration enough. Remember, being wrong is ok: it’s what makes us human after all. Stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that you aren’t wrong is what lands you in trouble. If you haven’t already, give us a like or a follow on social media! Facebook LinkedIn Instagram Twitter YouTube If you really like us, why not share our blogs with your friends and family. Even better, tell us which blogs you like or suggest a topic you’d like to know more about – we’d love to hear from you