Falling Off Our Foils

“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should do about it:
admit it, learn from it, and never repeat it.”
Paul Bear Bryant

Leadership teams who have values and behaviours are always going to fail.

That they do fail isn’t the main point. The main thing is what do they do when they inevitably fail? That is the secret to their success.

Teams willing to review their failure to ‘back one another’ or retain their ‘generous disposition’ under pressure, are teams who want to learn. They want to learn how to maintain their equilibrium in the face of disappointment or criticism. That’s not easy for anyone, leaders included.

Finding the cause of your team ‘falling off your foils’ is key.

Here are some questions for your leadership team to consider as you think of your team’s development.

How well briefed are the presenters to your leadership team?
How well have they understood the outcomes you want?
How well are you tuned into the outcomes they want?

How confident are you if you were accused of racism, sexism or bullying, that you could discover what was at the heart of that, rather than justify what you did? While the action might not have been our intention, a behaviour has been interpreted as offensive. How able are we to discover we have made a mistake and transgressed, or were blind to our impact on others?

This learning is personal, painful and essential for us all as leaders in our organisations. Successful leaders learn to

  • Distinguish between causing offence and causing damage in their relationships
  • Stay in relationship while they are under pressure
  • Apologise sincerely, resulting in both themselves and the recipient being confident the behaviour won’t be repeated

What methods do you and your leadership team use to get back up on your foils when you stray from your stated values?

© Diana Jones

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