Claim Your Farts

| September 13, 2017

by Curt Fowler | Fowler & Company

Yep, the secret to being a better leader is claiming your farts (or tootie booties as we call them in our house) and claiming all the other really embarrassing screw ups that you’d prefer no one ever know about.

The first step in building any relationship is developing trust. Trust is developed through brutal honesty and vulnerability. Being willing to admit your screw ups, weaknesses, failures and fears.

Think about the performances we put on every day. We act confident when we are not, we are always dressed our best when we go out and we’d never let someone inside our home when things weren’t perfect. Listen – I’m not suggesting you roll out of bed and go straight to the office or to not pick up before people come over, but why do we always have to be in “show” mode?

Consider your deepest relationships. What makes those relationships so great? Mainly your ability to be open, honest and feel safe sharing everything with that person. That is what we are missing in workplaces today. We are all too busy trying to be the smartest, most put together person in the room.

As an example, my wife and I are blessed with four children ages five to one. They are the lights of our world, but being a mom with multiple young children is incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, no mom likes to admit she is at her wits end because of her precious little ones. They only post happy pictures on Facebook when the house is clean and everyone is pretty.

When we had our first daughter, Jill quickly determined these women must be lying (or at least leaving out a lot of the tough stuff). She decided to be honest. She told everyone who asked how hard being a new mom was and how she was struggling. She was so honest I had to periodically ask her if she was happy we had a kid. She quickly let me know our child was the best thing that had ever happened to her, but that being a new mom was very difficult.

What happened? Women came out of the woodwork to tell Jill about their struggles being a new mom. They consoled each other and finally understood they were not the only new moms who struggle. This made all of these newly transparent moms feel a whole lot better about themselves and allowed them to receive help from others. Why? All because my wife was brave enough to show her weakness in public.

But would anyone ever do that in the office? Of course not! And that is exactly the problem. We are all weak sometimes, we all have things we are not good at, we have all farted, got caught and tried to cover it up!

So, here is what I’m asking you to do. Next time you sneak one out in a meeting, let out a big laugh and ask someone to pull your finger. You’ll be a hero!

Next time you are in way over your head, ask for help. As the leader, you’ve got to be the first to stand up and look foolish. It’s OK to be human. Let everyone in your organization know that.

For more tools on becoming a better leader head over to our Resource Page and check out our free tools to help you get started or give us a call at 229-375-5613.

Curt Fowler is an organizational growth expert and President of Fowler & Company, a business advisory firm dedicated to helping leaders create and achieve a compelling vision for their organization. He has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.

 Have a business growth topic you’d like me to cover? Send suggestions to cfowler [at] or use our contact form by clicking here.
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