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.

Steve Smith