If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I thrive on pushing my mind and body to the edge:

  • Doing yoga classes for 30 days.
  • Drastically changing my diet to vegan/vegetarian.
  • Scaling unthinkable crazy hills.

“What’s the point of these challenges?” I’m frequently asked.  I always answer with a quote from George Bernard Shaw:

“I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.”

This weekend I organized a Meetup.com hike to one of my favorite places, Highland Forest. Something happened on the hike that exposed one of my flaws.

Highland, located 60 miles southeast of Syracuse, is known as the “Adirondacks of Central NY.” The oldest park in Onondaga County has 20 miles of year-round trails, six square miles of rugged mountainous terrain, and over 2,700 acres of gawjuss forest.

I was joined by new friends Dave, Adina, Tom, and John on Saturday’s nine mile trek on the Main Trail.

About a half mile into our adventure, I paused to tell the group, on occasion, I take a wrong turn and get off track. “Don’t assume I’m going the right way. Always be looking for the orange markers on the trees designating the Main Trail.” I said.

I can’t tell you how many times I got lost in the beauty of Highland. I’m either preoccupied with listening to my iPod or enjoying the magnificence of this unique place.

There have been several times when I took a right when I should have taken a left. I’ll tell ya, it’s a scary experience being in the middle of nowhere and not knowing which way to turn. (The last time I got lost I purchased a compass. Now I can’t find it. Go figure. 😉 )

Sure enough, after letting my team know I occasionally lose my direction, 10 minutes later, I took a left when I should have gone right. “Steve! Steve! You’re going the wrong way!” they said with a laugh. That’s when I slapped the top of my forehead with the base of my right hand. “See, I told ya!” I said grinning ear to ear.

On this day I was the so called, “leader.” I let my constituents know in advance I’m not perfect. Why would I do that?

I care about my team. I was concerned about their well being. My focus was getting everyone to the destination, safe and sound.

In the book “Good To Great,” author Jim Collins discovered Level Five leaders, those that were best in class leading great companies, had a blend of extreme personal humility and an unrelenting resolve towards their personal and professional life.

Humility. Understanding it’s not about you. Realizing it’s ok to show the team your strengths and weaknesses.

Your people don’t want to work for a super hero. Someone who’s perfect. That type of leader is unapproachable.

Your people want to know they’re working for a human being.

Humans are flawed. Show them everything. Warts and all. If you do, the team will run through a brick wall for you.

In the comment section below, describe a time when you saw a leader show a weakness or they committed a faux pas. What was the experience like?

Share This