No one is perfect.

However, I did have one colleague who was nearly perfect. To celebrate the end of a long and arduous project that impacted almost everyone in our department, we had a recognition lunch complete with tongue in cheek awards. My colleague received the Ms. Prefect Award. Everyone got a kick out of the fact that she missed the misspelling of perfect.

But I suspect everyone who calls herself a leader can recall a time when, somehow, some way, we missed the obvious.

I remember a time when I asked our organization’s senior leader to convene a meeting of his top advisors whether they were part of his management team or not. By the time we finished reviewing my draft of the invite list, all of the non-management team members had been excluded; all that remained were the members of the management team . . . except three. I failed to see that a meeting of top advisors had morphed into a management team session.

The meeting was held, the results were reported, and the three members of the management team who were not invited felt excluded. Ouch!

I could have pointed out that I did not create the invite list (but see, yes, sir; no, sir; no, excuse sir) but the idea of meeting in the first place was mine. So when I heard the level of hurt that my exclusion caused, I called an emergency meeting of the organization’s staff and made a public apology.

Thankfully, the apology was graciously accepted and we were able to move on.

Several members of the staff spoke to me in private (individually) and said something to the effect of “I’m not sure what that was all about but my regard for you as a leader just increased”.

How we handle our imperfections can take us a step closer to being perfect.

Have you missed something that, in hindsight, seemed obvious? How did you bounce back from this misstep? If you’re willing to share, I’d love to learn from your lesson learned. Send me a note via the contact form. I will send you an excerpt from my book, Transforming: The Power of Leading from Identity, as a thank you.