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I’m Successful Because I’ve Been Wrong

A leader explained, “One reason I’ve been successful this year is I’ve been wrong a lot.”

One of the best ways to expand your leadership is by be wrong publicly.

When was the last time you were wrong?

Try saying:

  1. I sure missed that one.
  2. Oh, I’m sorry, I really screwed that up.
  3. Oh my, I thought I understood, but now I see I didn’t.
  4. Thanks for point out what I missed.
  5. Your input is changing the way I look at things.
  6. Gee, I thought I knew what was happening, but I made up my mind too quickly.
  7. Holy cow, I can’t believe I just said that. I hope you can forgive me.


3 advantage of being wrong:

#1. Learning

Anyone who doesn’t make mistakes already knows. And those who know can’t learn.

Learning is the iterative process of failure and improvement.

Learning leaders:

  1. Make decisions based on reasonable confidence they’re doing the right thing. (When you aren’t sure, make decisions that won’t cause harm.)
  2. Evaluate decisions. Did the decision produce the desired result?
    1. Repeat what worked well. What’s working? (Keep in mind that what worked in the past may not work now.)
    2. Adapt what might be improved. What might make this better?
    3. Reject what didn’t work. What isn’t working?
  3. Add new strategies. What might we try, that we haven’t tried yet?
  4. Repeat and learn.

#2. Improvement

Every improvement begins with imperfection.

You’re always “wrong” when there’s a better way to do things – and there’s always a better way.

  1. Reject the need to be right.
  2. Make space for others by saying, “I could be wrong.”

When you start defending you stop improving.

#3. Growth

Growth includes:

  1. Courage to risk failure.
  2. Honesty to own mistakes.
  3. Humility to learn from blunders.
  4. Resolve to begin again.

Ego stunts your growth and makes you dumb.

How might leaders expand their leadership by being wrong?

What advantages can you see from being wrong publicly?

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