Charles Starrett

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Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.

Leading is always by example

There is no other way to lead, other than by example.

If your people see you consistently say one thing, but do something else, they won’t trust you and won’t believe you.

You don’t have to be perfect. That’s impossible. But if leadership matters to you, then when you make a mistake, especially when someone else points it out to you, you need to own it. And that can be hard.

But if you have the capability and the capacity to be with the discomfort, embarrassment, and even shame of not living up to the standards that you expect of your people, then you have an opportunity. You have the opportunity to talk about how what you did was wrong and what you will strive to do better. You have the opportunity to model how to handle making mistakes in a public way that builds trust and relationships. You have the opportunity to reinforce the culture’s values by showing, in word and deed, that they matter.

Making mistakes is unavoidable. It’s what we do next that matters. And whether they say anything or not, your people are watching.

12 June 2022

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