I did a little research on leaders who apologize and I was stunned to find a very short list. Rather, I found stories of very public leaders who lied to cover up their mistakes or made excuses that their mistakes weren’t as bad as other leaders. I was intrigued to read of one leader who finally made a public apology to their mistake but most follow up reports said the apology was forced and not sincere. Why is it rare to find a leader who will own their mistakes?Why is it rare to find a leader who will own their mistakes? Click To Tweet
It takes courage to apologize — courage to take responsibility for your actions with no excuses. But a courageous leader is a leader that people want to follow.
Here are four reasons to own your mistakes, no excuses, and step up to the mic and say “I apologize”:
- Authentic Leadership
When your apology is honest and sincere, when you own it with no excuses, people are more willing to forgive. They know you are sincere. People want a leader they can trust. A leader who is humble enough to own their mistakes and the consequences of their mistakes is a leader people can trust.
- Open Leadership
When a leader is open to admitting their mistakes, it creates a culture of unity and openness. The people on your team will make mistakes too. When a leader is willing to apologize, it gives the team an openness to risk, to innovate, and to own their own mistakes. It also creates a team unity because they know their leader is not going to blame them for mistakes.
- Strong Leadership
It takes a strong leader to own their mistakes. Saying “I am sorry” or “I apologize” shows a leader is strong and people want to follow a strong leader. A leader who has the team’s back, who will fight for them, who will protect them, and who will lead them with confidence in the face of challenges and opportunities.
- Humble Leadership
One of the dangers of leadership is becoming prideful and arrogant. The position of leadership can easily puff us up and make us think more highly of ourselves than we should. Our mistakes can be the very thing we need to humble us and make us better leaders. A good dose of humility can teach us much about true and lasting leadership which is less about us and more about the people we lead.It takes courage to apologize, to take responsibility for your actions with no excuses. Click To Tweet
God’s Word is full of stories of imperfect people and imperfect leaders. Some of our mistakes are sin and our apology needs to be to God first. King David knew this well and expresses it well in Psalm 32:
“How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How joyful is the man the Lord does not charge with sin and in whose spirit is no deceit! When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer heat. Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You took away the guilt of my sin.” (v. 1-5)
How have you been impacted by a leader who apologized? What lessons did you learn?