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Leadership at the Peak

How to cope with leadership pitfalls

George Nyabadza

Leadership recovery EVERYONE promises superior service delivery. Researchers in customer satisfaction (CS) whether it’s per indepe

ndent business or in comparative terms with other businesses have found out that the key indicator of superior service is not the actual delivery thereof but rather the ability of a business to recover from poor service.

In other words clients are more inclined to give you a higher CS ranking if you are able to pick yourself up and quickly re-group and re-offer improved service.

It really doesn’t matter how often the service mishaps occur but your speed of recovery will determine whether the client comes back or not. I would like to explore a similar concept that I call leadership recovery (LR).

Leaders are normal people like the rest of us, so they make mistakes even though we expect them not to. In whatever leadership role you may find yourself in, personal, social or corporate, you will make mistakes, sometimes more often than not.

I would like to contend that it’s not how excellent your leadership style is but rather how you recover from leadership “falls” that people who look up to you will treat you as a leader. Let’s look at three things that you can do to recover when you “fall”.

Acceptance of the situation

The hardest thing for a leader to do is to accept the reality of a “fall”. That “fall” can be anything you can think of that places you in a situation where you feel you have not let only yourself down but everyone who looked up to you. After all the necessary pain has been processed, and I daresay to help you process the pain, being honest with yourself is probably the most important thing you can do. Such honesty demands a close look at your own leadership traits, a sincere questioning whether these should remain as they are or whether you should begin a process of personal transformation.

No regrets but lessons

One of the easiest pits to fall into is that of regrets. The mind can easily dwell on negatives and build these up into drama of unimaginable proportions. As much as possible you have to fight, and I mean fight, the temptation to wallow in regret.

Regret drains you of energy and the motivation to move forward. Regrets and worry are probably the most destructive of mental habits.

One of the best ways to fight regret is to realise that the past is gone and that irrespective of the pain associated with the event, there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. Except of course to learn from it. That sounds easier said than done, but it’s a worthwhile process to embark on. Instead of regretting, find out what lessons there are for you in that past event. After all you still have the rest of your life ahead of you.


Regret probably ranks as one of the most depressing of human emotions. Many of the leaders I speak to regret not having put enough effort to sustain their most intimate relationships. Some regret business decisions that wiped away fortunes.

However, I have noticed that the most inspiring of human achievement stories emerge from those leaders who decided in their moments of pain to rebuild their lives or businesses instead of wallowing in regret. It really doesn’t matter what you’re, your “fall” was, if you have the ability to reflect on it you have the ability to do something about it now. It’s never too late.

In recovery what you must bear in mind is that you have to put in 100% effort. That’s the only way you will avoid regretting latter on because you will have done all that you could.

So whatever fall down situation you are facing, accept the situation, avoid regrets, find the lessons and do all that you can to recover.

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