Amongst the many qualities associated with being a great manager, a leader, humility is not the one that comes to mind first. And yet great leaders are separated from simply successful leaders by this very quality. Humility provides the ability to learn from your failures and all leaders have their failures.
To be a successful manager you must have self belief. Leaders are decisive and positive with an almost uncanny ability to transmit those qualities to their staff. But self belief should not become so all encompassing that it excludes the possibility of getting things wrong or being a contributing factor in the failings. Accepting responsibility when things don’t go according to plan is not just something managers say . Those who poses humility recognise when it is true.
Of course a range of factors come into play all of which may contribute to things not working out, the budget cut was more dramatic than expected, a shift in political power changed the dynamics, some key departures from the senior management team unsettled people, a tragic event attracted a lot of averse media interest and was a time consuming distraction. Never the less the manager is expected to plot a course through these choppy waters not constantly refer to them to explain poor performance. Nor will those asking the questions be placated by a tetchy response that seeks to remind critics of past success especially if those success were delivered in other organisations.
The manager who can not accept that their failure may have in part been down to their own performance shortcomings, the manager who can not acknowledge their own errors limits themselves. We learn the most about ourselves from failure.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk