Leadership: Why You Should Learn From Your Mistakes

There is never a time when a leader likes it when they make mistakes. But it takes an even better leader to admit when they have made them. No leader is ever perfect, but these mistakes can lead to amazing learning experiences.

So here are three reasons why it’s important for leaders to admit their mistakes, take responsibility, and make the improvements necessary to avoid repeating those mistakes all over again.

1. Wise Leaders Learn From Their Mistakes

Glenn Llopis, president, and CEO of business consulting firm GLLG, says that all leaders make mistakes. But while some leaders choose to gloss over their shortfalls and focus attention only on their successes, mature leaders glean valuable insights from their mistakes.

This wisdom, gained through difficult challenges and failures, enables leaders to spot opportunities and solutions that they would otherwise have missed.

2. Owning Your Mistakes Builds Trust and Respect

Lolly Daskal, president and CEO of global consultancy Lead From Within, stresses that every team watches their leader, and what they see impacts their level of trust in that leader. So while it’s tempting to think that one must always show strength and perfection — and never admit failure or defeat — that leadership tactic is actually counterproductive.

3. Employees Follow Their Leader’s Example

Some leaders attempt to push from behind, but those who are most effective get out in front and lead with transparency. And they know that everyone in their organization is watching and taking notes about everything they do — good or bad.

So if leaders expect their employees to be accountable for the results they generate for their organization, then they too need to model that same sense of accountability and not attempt to shift blame when they make bad decisions or fail in their leadership duties themselves.

Leadership can be a tough gig.

There will always be critics who are quick to point out mistakes their leaders make. But leaders know that everyone makes mistakes, and they are quick to admit when they make errors themselves and learn how to improve going forward.

Jerel Benjamin is an innovative entrepreneur based in Austin, TX. He’s currently serving as the CEO for ProfitGold, which he founded in 2004. JerelBenjamin.org