To Ponder: Relatable Failure

A guilty pleasure of mine is British Comedy in its many forms. If you have read either of my books this is likely no surprise – both Douglas Adams and Monty Python are endless wells of fantastic quotes.

While taking a moment to decompress this week I stumbled onto this clip of Lee Mack telling the story of his first attempt at stand-up. During which he sent one of the legends of comedy, John Cleese, into a giggle fit. An experience that Lee later described as one of the proudest moments of his career.

Here’s the video of the whole bit (language warning):

Lee’s a highly talented comedian – what he’s done here is almost poetic. He’s taken what would have been a highly embarrassing early-career failure and used it as fuel to create one of his own career highlights.

But he’s also done something else here. Lee is often positioned as an ‘everyday’ style of comedian – and this is a prime example of that in action. Masterfully he uses failure to create immediate relatability.

As leaders we so often get caught up in the need to always be put our best foot forward. There’s a concern that fallibility shows weakness.

It doesn’t. It shows humanity.

So here’s your question to ponder this week:

How can you use better use your own personal failures to create relatability and fast track group rapport?