The Perfectly Imperfect Leader

Enough of this myth that leaders have to be super-human people who can do it all!  In protest! I hereby present the Leadership Lacks Test. Just count the ones you agree with.  No scales, just a simple yes or no.

  1. I can fix almost anything and make it work if I try hard enough.
  2. I am usually friendly with people, so most of them like me.
  3. I can remember how to do things that I learned a long time ago.
  4. Give me your wish list and I’ll find at least one or two items on it that I can help you with.
  5. I can turn almost any bad situation around if I am at least given a chance..

How did you score?  I’m proud to say I got a big fat zero. If you’re focused too much on fixing things, you’re not focused on the big broad spectrum of possibilities. If you focus too much on people liking you, you may do things that inadvertently give up your power. If you’re accessing the past this well, you may miss tuning in on the future. If you go off in search of treasure too often, you won’t be there when it comes to you.

And if you’re really good at turning bad situations around, you might not walk away from one when you should.

Most importantly, if you’re doing all these jobs, there’s no room for other people on your team to do them. So revel in your lacks, love yourself for what you are not, and just enjoy being a perfectly imperfect leader!

So, how are you doing at assessing your personal strengths and weaknesses in your role as a leader? Are you finding yourself trying to be super-human? Do you allow yourself to “fail” or be less than perfect at things? Do you admit to yourself and to your team that you are not always good at fixing everything, or so you sometimes hold up a facade instead? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

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Dr. Janice Presser is CEO of
The Gabriel Institute
She can be reached at


4 responses to “The Perfectly Imperfect Leader

  1. The first time I was hired as a CEO, it was with a company where–despite the congenial atmosphere and the very commendable focus on customer needs–circumstances more or less required EVERYONE to be a superhuman. This seemed to work while the company was in stasis (very slow growth), but as I had been hired to grow the company, the ‘superpeople fallacy’ was quickly revealed. In order to have agility, there needs to be flexibility. Organizational flexibility is enabled by giving people time to think, room to move, and an ‘OK’ to experiment and try new things. It also comes from having people with different temperaments and work-styles — people who naturally gravitate to different kinds of roles. I issued a decree: “No super-people anymore!” and introduced new ways to collaborate. The company tripled in size in three years.

  2. You are right on! Perfections paralyzes. If you give yourself permission to be imperfect, you, and those around you, are free to explore, to try new things, to create, and to learn from mistakes.

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