The Man in the Mirror

Ok, I’ll admit it, I love American Idol. This year’s season has been strange. The talent is amazing, and yet to think that Pia Toscano would be voted off is simply shocking. I have always loved Michael Jackson’s rendition of “Man in the Mirror” and this past weeks performance by Jacob Lusk was fabulous. As this song always does, it touched me. I love the message; and it got me thinking.

I have noticed that the individuals and leaders who are aligned in their leadership approach do just that: they look in the mirror. When things are not going well or a certain project or promotion does not have the results expected – they look inside first.

They ask: What did I forget? From whom did I not get advice? Did I ask everyone I needed to or did I rely on only one source? What did we forget to include in the initial discussions? What could I have done differently that may have resulted in a more favorable outcome? What questions did I not ask? This is not always easy – the truth can be unsettling yet, I believe, we have to start within first.

Sure, there is a time when the accountability and culpability must reside with the other person or persons. When a member of our team, a client or a supplier demonstrates low accountability, doesn’t deliver the goods or does not want to take ownership for a project or idea gone awry, we certainly have to be strong and do our best to set the example and hold them accountable. Yet, as leaders, not until we have exhausted our own failings may we move in that direction.