Exercising effective leadership is a worthy and challenging endeavour. Not surprisingly, there are numerous obstacles and setbacks faced along the way. Although resilience is undoubtedly important, it is likely not enough. Practising self-compassion or personal forgiveness is a necessary adaptive strategy, and it may be a critical contributor to achieving our leadership potential.

Countless articles and books have been written on the topic of leadership. Not surprisingly, much of the discussion focuses on the traits, behaviours and models of effective leaders ultimately to reveal the “secrets” of better leadership.

When talking about setbacks, most of the attention centres on team members, with the prevailing wisdom suggesting that leaders should be open and supportive of their direct reports when errors occur. And when leaders face obstacles, the importance of perseverance and maintaining a positive attitude are offered as sage advice.

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