Servant Leadership Workplace-Admitting Mistakes

5 Reasons Admitting Mistakes Might Show You Are a Servant-Leader

Everyone makes mistakes.

But not everyone will admit making a mistake

In my experience, servant-leaders in the workplace are pretty good at admitting when they make mistakes.

Furthermore, I would argue that admitting mistakes is evidence that a person is practicing servant leadership.


Here are 5 reasons admitting mistakes might show you are a servant-leader.

  1. Admitting a mistake is a sign of self-awareness. Some people don’t admit a mistake because they aren’t aware that they made a mistake. Servant-leaders value self-awareness – and work to cultivate it.
  1. Admitting a mistake shows humility. Servant-leaders know they aren’t perfect and own up to their errors. Arrogance – the opposite of humility – is often characterized by a belief in one’s own infallibility
  1. Admitting a mistake builds trust. It’s a powerful way of saying, “I trust you – with information which I might otherwise prefer not to share.” Because giving trust is one of the best ways of receiving trust, admitting mistakes has an upside.
  1. Admitting a mistake is a prerequisite to learning. Failure is a great teacher and the best leaders learn from it. So, those who admit mistakes are already moving up the learning curve.
  1. Admitting a mistake shows vulnerability. Experts draw a connection between vulnerability and good leadership at work. That good leadership, in turn, has a positive effect on important things like employee engagement. *

Do you agree that admitting a mistake might show that a person is a servant-leader? What do you think of my 5 reasons? Is there something you would you add or subtract?

Let us know.

As always, we appreciate your views. Thanks!


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* Here’s more on these 5 topics:

1. Self-awareness: “5 Ways to Cultivate Better Self-Awareness”

2. Humility: “4 Reasons Humility is a Cardinal Virtue of Servant Leadership”

3. Trust: “Servant Leadership – 3 Workplace Priorities”

4. Learning: “Leadership and Learning (from Failure)”

5. Vulnerability: A good Harvard Business Review article by Emma Seppala, “What Bosses Gain by Being Vulnerable.” Plus this post, “6 New Job Tips for Servant-Leaders.”