In a recent Leader is a Verb posting on the importance of being a positive role model and always putting the team ahead of self, I used the poor judgment of LeBron James after the Orlando-Cleveland series to highlight what not to do. MANY of you commented with various insights.
Having thought about it a few more days, I now believe there is an even more important leadership lesson to be learned from this drama, and it just may be still playing out. ALL leaders will make mistakes. If you do not make mistakes, you are not trying anything new or taking risks. The key is how does the leader who has made a mistake react and present the error in public. Mr. James tried to justify an obvious incorrect action and people saw right through it.
A couple years ago, a senior executive at a Fortune 100 company broke the law by talking to a government official about employment. Once uncovered, the two tried to say it did not happen. Both were imprisoned. When the CEO was asked what the leadership should learn from the ordeal, he said “you MAY BE fired for making a serious error, but you will ALWAYS be fired for covering it up.” It is the second mistake that gets otherwise good people into trouble. Just stand up and admit what happened. We tend to accept imperfection.
Have you seen someone admit a serious error, and was forgiven?