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4 rules for effective leaders (and all good human beings)

  1. If you are wrong, acknowledge your mistake and apologize if needed.
  2. If you are right, stay quiet. Allow others to sing your praise.
  3. If others are wrong, let them know about their mistake, but privately and with grace.
  4. If others are right, celebrate them publicly.

Many people seem to struggle most with rule #1. This one has always come easy to me, mostly because I’ve come to understand its utility.

Apologizing has been a highly effective means of solving problems and avoiding trouble for me. Perhaps I also make more mistakes than most, so I’ve needed to rely on this strategy more often.

If so, I apologize.

Acknowledging mistakes and apologizing are often seen as signs of weakness, but they are actually clear signals of strength. It requires confidence, a strong self esteem, and sometimes even courage to apologize.

Those who struggle with admitting fault and apologizing often see these things as threats to self and ego. Thin-skinned egotists and insecure cowards struggle with apologizing the most. They would rather lie about being right than admit to being wrong.

I have great difficulty with #2, particularly in circumstances when I was right and someone else was wrong.

The problem is simple:

“I told you so” are four of my very favorite words. They are also petty, stupid, and oftentimes counterproductive, but I just can’t help myself.

But like most people, I’m also a work in progress.