By: Kim Thore, Mobilization Manager  | 7/15/2022 |

Having worked in several different industries- Financial Services, Marketing Research, Project Management, Marketing, Communications and PR the one lesson I learned early on in my corporate career is that the best leaders are transparent.

In my first role as a Contact Center leader, I was determined to learn everything about call centers in my first 30 days and being out of my comfort zone bc I had switched careers and was no longer a subject matter expert, I was afraid to admit what I didn’t know.

One interaction with one of my team leaders has stayed with me to this day. We were having her one-on-one and I casually said, “I am trying to learn everything as fast as I can so I can reduce the amount of ramp-up time.” Her response? “Why? – That’s not what I need you for”.

Admittedly I was stumped. I wanted to be the SME asap and here was one of my team leads saying no!

I asked her to explain.

She said, “You’ll learn all the technology, AHT, switches, metrics, etc.- what I need from you is to help me grow as a leader.”

You see I had confused subject matter expertise for leadership expertise. I was in a new role, in a new industry and I was putting extreme pressure on myself to learn “everything”, which is just not possible.

I also learned that a step backward is still movement and if you take the time to evaluate what caused the step backward and apply it, you will have success.

I still work on this aspect of my personality to this day, but I learned trying to “look” perfect or be perceived as perfect is never authentic, it creates undue pressure and the worst part? It is a force multiplier and models unhealthy perfectionism in your team.

The best leaders admit their mistakes and remember we are human beings not human doings.  As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”.

Bottom line, “failures” aren’t signs of weakness but rather strengths. By being transparent, you’ll build stronger relationships across the organization and demonstrate doing the right thing – which is to not be embarrassed by your failures, instead learn from them and start again.

I leave you with this thought:  5,126

That’s the number of failed prototypes Sir James Dyson went through over the course of 15 years before creating the eponymous best-selling bagless vacuum cleaner that led to a net worth of $4.5billion.

I have a post-it note in my office that has that number on it-it reminds me to be transparent, and to not expect perfection. So, don’t be afraid to fail if you want to succeed.