"I never intended for that to happen."
"Oh my gosh, that's my mistake. I didn't realize it would play out that way."
"I'm sorry, I just didn't see that coming."
Honest mistakes. They happen to all of us. I hate to admit it when I mess up, but part of being an effective leader is owning up to your mistakes (or your organization's mistakes even if they weren't your fault.) Plus, it is essential that you make sure the appropriate processes are put in place to avoid the chance that a similar mistake will happen in the future.
Is that a guarantee? No. Do good leaders push hard to do their best? You're damn right they do.
Experience Does Not Equal Effective
I've worked with many leaders over the years, and some had years of experience with impressive job titles and they often stumbled so routinely I wondered how in the world they ever landed such a good gig. Others have been new to their leadership roles but had such insight that I did everything I could to raise the organization's awareness about their skill set.
Most of the time it is the group with the fancy titles that makes the most important decisions. Sadly, those same folks have often risen through the ranks because they have excelled as a SME (Silo Matter Expert.)
Their ability to see beyond their direct span of control is nonexistent. They've spent so much time in their own world that they haven't taken the time to learn what it means to be an organizational leader. Rather, they are simply a really good middle manager.
What eventually happens to those leaders that are going to rise above their SME status and actually lead the company comes when they focus on areas outside their little organizational chart.
I'm not suggesting they interfere with other leaders operations. I would submit that the most effective leaders have taken the time to learn about all of the operations of the enterprise so they can effectively contribute organizationally.
How About You
Do you have leaders in your organization that despite their job title are clearly still cutting their teeth on the role of organization-wide leader? How are you helping them? It can be tricky. But if they are going to succeed instead of reinforcing their own limited world view with an endless series of self-talk (typically done out loud in meetings) then it's time to step in.
I'd love to hear from you.