Regardless of how hard you try, you will make mistakes, you will forget to follow up, and you will communicate something that turns out to be wrong. When you do, if you want to protect your leadership credibility, there is only one thing that will make a difference—admit it.
I experienced this in my first presentation to all employees in my first stint as a company president. I was giving the status—to the best of my knowledge—on each of our programs. On one of the programs, to the best of my knowledge turned out to be wrong, and many of the employees knew it. Their reaction: “he’s just another leader who doesn’t tell the truth.”
I had promised the employees I would never lie to them, and boom, right out of the box, they have me branded as a liar and my credibility is shot.
At our next all-employee gathering, this is how I started: “Before I cover where we are today, I want to correct something I said last time.” I recapped what I had said, told them what the real story was, and finished with “I was wrong.”
Their reaction: “I have never heard a president say that before.” The outcome was that my credibility was helped a lot more by “I was wrong” than it was hurt by my mistake.
The 8th credibility “Be…” is Be Accountable for every word you speak, every promise you make, and every decision you make. Remember that…
“One lie has the power to tarnish a thousand truths.” Al David (author)
“The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” Jesus
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Copyright 2015 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
21 October 2015
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner