• Sarah O'Brien

Way more than 5 apologies....

Updated: Mar 28, 2020

5 Apologies Every Leader Owes Their Team” is powerful. Read it. I wish Forbes would have published it a decade ago.

Heres the link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chakabooker/2019/04/27/5-apologies-every-leader-owes-their-team/#253d9527197d

Every leader, manager, trainer, mentor, boss and supervisor needs to read this. Especially the ones who think they don’t. This should be mandatory reading for anyone in a supervisory role. And by mandatory I mean at least every quarter. 

No one is perfect. Most of us are thrown into leadership roles with no formal training because we excelled at our “job.” Many of us never had a discussion about our new role and how to handle the complexities and responsibilities that come along with guiding formal teams. We also aren’t typically given resources to address how to let go of the things we were once experts at or how to train someone on something you never had the privilege of being trained to do either. 

These bad habits are in fact generational of sorts. As you get moved up the professional ladder behavior repeats itself. We don’t know any better because we never had better. And some of us excelled despite those circumstances. And unfortunately a lot of us failed. Miserably. I think that’s why micromanagement is such a rampant toxin in today’s professional environment. I think that’s why we keep promoting without regard to managerial or leadership capabilities. I think thats why many are not prepared to lead others or succeed as a leader.

Thankfully I have been blessed to serve with tremendous leaders and mentors. I’ve also been fortunate to be able to lead and inspire those who didn’t need my leadership or inspiration. And most importantly I’ve been taught so much by those serving below me more times than I can count. Not everyone is as fortunate.

Despite the successes of my leaders, myself and my teams, I failed often. I’m too am guilty. I still owe apologies. While I can relate to this entire article I should be locked up for my behavior in regards to the last topic. Seriously.

“Finally, a tactical apology for sending emails and not telling you “by when.” I do this a lot. I fire off emails because I’m getting things off my plate. Email is my way of transferring thoughts, questions, requests, ideas or next steps to you. The problem is, because of my position, my emails feel urgent. The truth is I usually don’t immediately need whatever I emailed about. I usually need it sooner than later, but that might be tomorrow or end of the week. Not within ten minutes.“

I’m filing this article away and committing to reviewing it regularly. I’m not promising I won’t fail again. Because I will. I’m promising to do different because everyone deserves better.


Sarah served as a Texas Main Street manager for over a decade and is a proud two-time Past President of the Texas Downtown Association. She lives in Smithville Texas and has worked in local government. community development, destination management and downtown revitalization across the State of Texas. She is a motivational speaker, consensus builder, and visionary problem solver who helps organizations and communities understand their purpose and achieve collective impact.

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