Can leaders be flawless?

One of the key traits that many people identify in leaders is confidence and an aura of strength, whether it’s in making tough choices or in guiding your team and company through a challenging business landscape. There is a perception that this confidence and strength means that leaders are unerring and never falter, either in their actions, their attitude or assuredness of their own abilities. We expect our leaders to be flawless.

Can a leader ever be perfect?

While nobody likes to make mistakes, everybody does. It’s admitting to errors, taking responsibility and owning the solution that makes people seem open, honest and transparent. In a leader this can appear, more ‘human’ and therefore relatable. Employees working for a leader who is seen as a real person may find them more approachable, meaning that teams are more cohesive, can resolve problems faster and communicate and collaborate more effectively.

In contrast, leaders who are perceived as being too ‘perfect’ may find that their employees feel less able to approach them when things aren’t going well. On top of this, the weight of expectation placed on a ‘perfect’ leader may cause stress, hamper their ability to seek assistance and increase feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Should leaders aim for perfection?

While leaders should strive to exemplify the highest standards and inspire employees to do the same, an aversion to being seen as anything less than perfect can be very restrictive. At its worst, perfectionism can prevent positive actions being taken, just in case they go wrong. Fear of failure can be a key limiting factor to the success of the company.

Beyond striving for perfection, leaders who become over-confident can be a liability. Believing success to be assured, they can fail to accurately assess risks and, when things go wrong, may seek to shift the blame on to others. You can’t be perfect if you don’t recognise your own limitations.

Is there a balance between confidence and humanity?

Leaders who can balance their confidence and assuredness with approachability and humility could find that their role is easier.

Candidates who can demonstrate their leadership credentials with critical skills such as effective communication and the ability to critically analyse and solve workplace problems, including what to do when mistakes occur often find themselves in high demand. This is where the University of York’s 100% online Masters degree courses in Leadership and Management come in. Gaining a prestigious postgraduate degree from a Russell Group university could help you to differentiate yourself from other aspiring leaders. As all learning materials are delivered digitally you can study online when it suits you. There’s no need to take an extended study break: you can keep your current role and apply what you learn as you go.

As you can keep earning while you’re learning, it minimises the financial impact of study. It’s also possible to pay-per-module and you may be able to apply for a government-backed loan to assist with course fees. There are six start dates per year, meaning that you can start studying within weeks.

Find out more and to begin your application.