Leadership Advice

Leaders: It’s okay to be imperfect. Wordle teaches us how to fail transparently.

Advice from Jill Geisler, Bill Plante Chair in Leadership & Media Integrity, Loyola University Chicago and Freedom Forum Fellow in Women’s Leadership

I bombed on Wordle. 

In the same week I nailed one on the second try, I broke my winning streak.

With a newbie’s pride and joy, I had posted 5 winning scores on Twitter.

I felt like a leader in Wordle World.

But now I failed. My word-nerd ego took a hit. Who wants to broadcast their loser status? It was SO tempting to keep it to myself.

But how forthcoming is that? Does that jibe with what I teach about leadership — the importance of handling, not hiding from, mistakes or misfortune?

So I tweeted my big fat failure grid with this message above it:


Then “likes” and replies quickly appeared from other language-loving media folks:

  • “That was me yesterday!”
  • “My pattern looked just like this today. Too many options for those first two letters and final letter.”
  • “I couldn’t get today’s either. Same letters as you correct.”
  • “Maybe the most on brand tweet of today.”
  • “I think I’ve gotten the word twice. Perhaps thrice…yet I continue to come back. I’m going to believe it is all about *perseverance*”

We often teach writers not to let perfect get in the way of the good. It’s the same for leadership. You may want people to see you as a high-performer and worry they’ll lose confidence if you show any sign of weakness, including ‘fessing up to errors.

You’re not going to be perfect. Own your mistakes. Learn from them. Give people a chance to support you.

And persevere.


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