The Power of Imperfection

“Perfect parenting does not exist, and it is the imperfections that lead to resilient children.”  

The Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke these words at Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference in 2010. She was on a panel about leadership, and the conversation touched on the stress that working parents often feel.

When I heard Dr. Schori’s comment, I remember feeling an immediate sense of relief. I know I’m not perfect, but I had never before thought about the benefits of making mistakes. Every parent wants what is best for their child, to protect them from harm, and to unconditionally love them. However, we are humans and we make mistakes; we might forget to send our child to school with their lunch, we might drop them off at a soccer practice without making sure that the coach is there, we might forget that the fuel tank is approaching empty when we let our newly licensed child drive it for the first time, and so on. Each of these mistakes can provide learning opportunities for our children.

Just as perfect parenting does not exist, the same holds true for perfect leadership. As leaders, we strive to do our best, but we should accept the imperfections in our leadership. These shortcomings can help our team learn, become resilient, and develop their own leadership style.

I’m not advocating that parents or leaders should try to make mistakes; instead, I believe that we should be comfortable with the fact that we are not perfect. Chances are, our children and our staff are more resilient as a result.

Do you agree?


© 2012 by Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.

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