Leading From An Imperfect Place



I have had great opportunities during my career. I have also had less satisfying positions at companies and in collaborations. I am sure you feel similarly because we do sometimes end up in jobs and roles that don’t meet our expectations. We even learn some of our most important lessons and experience our greatest growth spurts from those less invigorating situations. The challenge for every leader is to not only survive those unfulfilling situations but to also lead with integrity and purpose when we land in an imperfect place. 

I have been coaching a group of leaders who are at different points in their careers. Each one has been sharing with me their individual challenges they want to explore. In all cases, their positions are presenting them with frustrations as well as uncertainty of how to empower themselves to be stronger leaders. Partnering with these extraordinary individuals, we are strategizing ways to change things up. Here are some ways to ACT to better these imperfect places:

 A-Acknowledge what isn’t working

Seems simple enough, yet we are often not open-minded or honest enough to say we are experiencing blips or challenges in our jobs. We may be overwhelmed with our workload or not sure what the priorities are. One of the individuals had no time for the hours of unexpected questions and redesign that he was constantly facing.


C- Choose which challenges to resolve first

In our imperfect roles, we may have several realignments to make and they may all seem to be most important. However, to be successful, we need to decide what we want to focus on. This can be paralyzing if we feel we are sinking. A great strategy I have found is to write it down:

Goal to achieve or learn

What will success look like?

Steps to accomplish

Dates for milestones


T- Tackle your choice with vengeance

When we are wishy-washy we are not committed to making a change for the better in our imperfect jobs. But when we create accountability for ourselves we are launching a process of action steps.

  • Put your plan into active mode immediately
  • Trust yourself that you can overcome the challenges
  • Reach out to people around you that can help or ease your workload
  • Don’t settle for imperfection, but don’t demand perfection

 What do you do to lead from imperfect places? What strategies have worked for you?

(photo credit) 


10 thoughts on “Leading From An Imperfect Place

  1. Love your comment, Joy that everything is temporary! That is so true and makes us feel so much more comfortable with the idea of change.

    We do need to keep bettering ourselves and find meaning in our work, even when we are in jobs that we feel are beneath us or not complementary to our strengths and passions.

    I appreciate your wonderful additions!

  2. Loved this article, Terri.

    This sentence summed up my experiences perfectly: “When we are wishy-washy we are not committed to making a change for the better in our imperfect jobs.”

    The key for me is being accountable, and that can happen in many ways. Sometimes it’s just writing it down, or confiding to a friend, or setting a deadline…but once that line is drawn in the sand, it brings my next steps into focus.

  3. Being accountable is key for anybody to make a real commitment to change and grow. Finding the best way to be accountable is different for each of us so we need to know what works best in keeping us on track.

    Putting things in writing seems to be make them real and definable. I am hoping with these coachees this will work and begin a great growing process for them.

    Thanks LaRae!

  4. Tackle with a vengeance! Right on!

    I often work with people that are drowning in their to do list. It’s not enough to know that it’s on the list without setting targets for getting it done. I’ll often ask “What are your top two must do’s NOW.”

    Love that your recommendations to ACT truly are actionable and will make a difference.

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