Leaders Must Deal With Hidden Errors

January 2, 2021

 Leaders can sometimes live in a make-believe world where they think they are above it all and are always right. One of the greatest leadership gifts is a self-awareness that is built on honesty and integrity. Invariably, this involves a willingness to transparently acknowledge errors and hidden faults.


     These days we live in a world where projecting the halo of perfection is seen as a sign of strength and qualification. Yet, learning from mistakes may be the greater form of true strength. “Who can discern his errors?” the Psalmist honestly asks (Ps. 19:12). The question is rhetorical in nature, assuming a “no one can” answer. Yet the fact is that we all make mistakes, and we all should discern this part of our humanity. Ignoring or covering over errors in judgement implicitly prevents the opportunity for personal and organizational growth. We always learn from errors but only if we acknowledge them, assess them, debrief on how they can be prevented in the future, and work hard to replace them with lessons learned. When the Psalmist exclaims “declare me innocent from hidden faults” (Ps. 19:12) he is imploring us to get things out into the open so that we can wrestle to the ground errors that we might otherwise want to keep concealed. Acknowledging errors is often the surest way to be declared innocent of those things that go wrong. When this occurs, weakness is not the result, but rather strength is evident. Discerning one’s errors is the highest form of self-awareness. Failure to discern these errors means that they will be repeated, and they become presumptuous errors – which are repetitive and ignored. When unchecked, these errors have dominion over us (Ps. 19:13). When leaders uncover hidden errors, everyone benefits. Of course, uncovering hidden errors should be done with care. Self-confession is the place to start and bringing these things before God for His guidance is essential. Also, leaders should discuss these hidden errors with trusted advisors. Then a further course of action, if necessary, will become evident. Then leaders can be set free to continue their important work.