Accepting that You are Perfectly Imperfect

Joe Weinlick
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By nature, all human beings have flaws, weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but leaders often feel the need to project an image of unassailable strength. Managers who accept and admit to their own human imperfections have a distinct advantage over those who attempt to appear perfect at all times. Although leaders often have qualities and skills that justify their positions, people relate better and work more effectively with managers who are open about their own weaknesses.

Good leaders set an example for others to follow. Projecting an air of invulnerability and flawlessness may seem like the best way in to earn the respect of others, but in reality, leaders who reveal their vulnerabilities are often the most powerful. Modeling the example of striving to be your best while owning up to your human imperfections inspires others to do the same, creating an atmosphere free of the pressure of having to live up to an impossible ideal.

People naturally relate to others who, like themselves, have human imperfections. A true leader is part of the work team, and bonding with your team members is a critical part of management success. A cohesive team works together with mutual comfort, trust and open communication. When employees are positively encouraged to do their jobs without the fear of reprisal for every mistake or the expectation of perfection, they are willing to work harder and take the risks necessary to produce the best results.

Admitting to yourself and others that you have human imperfections also allows you to hire and retain the most talented and valuable individuals. A team that includes the best and brightest will almost always outshine a team of people whose skill levels are kept in check by an insecure leader who doesn't want to be shown up by his subordinates. Openly acknowledging the skills of your team members, even if they are superior to your own, is a powerful way to win their appreciation and loyalty and increases your team's overall solidarity.

Winston Churchill famously said, "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." The way to ensure that enthusiasm remains intact is to treat each mistake – especially those that were a result of an employee pushing himself to new limits – as an opportunity to learn, grow and develop, just as they see you yourself doing. Set an example for your team by openly and honestly showing your human imperfections and working to improve upon them while granting yourself and your team the ability to fail and mistakes sometimes.

The best leaders see themselves as a part of their team, not as detached overseers. Your leadership skills are not measured by your own personal strengths, but rather by your team's success. Create an environment that fosters that success by admitting to your own vulnerabilities and human imperfections, allowing the best employees to work hard, take risks and constantly improve themselves in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.


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