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28 July 2009 • 7:00 am

Infallibility

Everyone makes mistakes – we often say that ‘to err is human, to forgive divine.’ And despite occasional assertions to the contrary, our leaders are in fact human. So our leaders have made mistakes, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The consequences of our leaders’ mistakes are usually greater than the mistakes of those led; through their decisions and actions, leaders cause many others to do things. This is the definition of leadership. In meritocracies, individuals rise to leadership roles because they are viewed as capable and skillful, and are therefore expected to make good decisions for the organizations they lead. But we also say that ‘mistakes will happen.’

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