When I write about leadership and management, I know that I have always tried my best, but for someone somewhere, probably more than someone, I have been what they might describe as "the worst boss, ever."
I recently had the chance to apologize to one such former employee. No need to go into details, suffice to say I had behaved in a way that had caused me shame in hindsight, and cost him his livelihood while he had a young family to support. I can, to this day, justify my actions. HR backed me. The law was on my side. He was very clearly justifiably terminated. Yet I believe I could have done more, tried just one more time.
On a chance encounter, after inquiring about his wife and kids, I brought it up. He had already forgiven me long ago, which only goes to prove he really was the gentleman I had hired, but who had somehow gone astray. Maybe just one more chance might have made the difference...and maybe not. We have a responsibility to the entire team to address the problems within.
Truth is, we who dare to lead sometimes fail and this is the burden we carry. Truth is, if we don't risk neither will we know improvement, or the positive difference we may have had on others.
Truth is, if we can't remember the names and faces and the lessons of the people we failed under our leadership, we do a great disservice to the people in our care today.