Maybe you’ve heard about the Air Force general who showed up to the SOTU wearing his medal ribbons, aka ribbon rack, upside down. He wasn’t making a statement, he was making a mistake.
The man in question is General Joseph Lengyel, who is a four-star general and chief of the National Guard.
When it was pointed out to him, Lengyel said, “Well, we’re all human, including me. And, as I made a final check in the mirror just before I walked out the door, I missed it… Plain and simple. I hope this is a lesson for everyone who wears the uniform, and really for anyone …They put erasers on pencils for a reason. When you make a mistake or miss a detail, own it and move on. One thing is for sure…My ribbons will NEVER be upside down again.”
Did you catch that part about owning mistakes? That’s what leadership looks like.