In a time when it’s frowned upon to grade papers with a red pen and everyone is handed a consolation prize to prevent low self-esteem, the benefits of failure are frequently overlooked.
This is especially true when it comes to leadership.
However, as the head of an organization, you know just how challenging the road to success can be and how often these trials can result in disappointment.
Whether you lose a large sum of money for your company, mislead your team on a big project, or neglect to land a big client, failing as a leader can be upsetting, disappointing, and embarrassing. Most of all, failure can make later success seem impossible.
By channeling the valuable lessons you’ve learned through leadership coaching and keeping the following benefits of failure in mind, you can grow through your mistakes and become a stronger, more confident leader.
Failure Can: Help You Learn to Confront Defeat
Because of your leadership role, you don’t have the option to simply quit or walk away when things don’t go as planned.
Instead, you have to use your wit, experience, and problem-solving skills to make the most of your failure and find the best solution possible. The more you face your failures head on, the better you will become at working through them. This will help you develop innovative strategies that can be applied to any future challenges you might encounter. Consider these four tips for confronting defeat:
- Don’t take your failure personally. It isn’t a representation of who you are as a person, your work ethic, or your identity as a leader.
- Try to step away from the failure and analyze it with an objective eye free from anger, frustration, blame or regret.
- Don’t obsess over your failure. Replaying the situation over and over again in your mind won’t change anything and will only hold you back from moving forward.
- Try to alter your perspective and look for the positive in each failure. Remember, failure is the cornerstone of success. Embrace the lessons you learn from your mistakes and apply them to be more successful in the future.
Failure Can: Help You Build a Better Team
As you grow to become a notable leader, you’ll have the opportunity to lead dozens of different teams, each with different personalities, work ethics, and attitudes. And though it may be easy to come into a company and trust that the management style used by your predecessor is adequate, you may find that what worked in the past is no longer sufficient, leading to the misguidance or failure of a team.
Failing as a team leader can be a terrible experience; not only are you letting others down, but you’re also weakening the system and casting doubt on your own leadership abilities. Keep in mind, however, that these types of mistakes are not uncommon for growing leaders and there is a lot you can learn from these failures. Perhaps the most valuable takeaway from this type of challenge is learning the importance of using your skills, knowledge, and experience when devising solutions and plans for how to improve the company and perfect your team-building abilities. By using assertive communication and innovative ideas and implementing best practices and forward thinking, you’ll be able to assemble a team of individuals you can count on to get the job done right.
Failure Can: Help You Make the Right Decision
Think about a time when you were faced with a challenge and failed. What decisions did you make that led to that outcome? Now think about a time when you were faced with a challenge and succeeded. What decisions did you make then?
Leaders are required to make decisions all the time. Some decisions need to be made in the moment and others can be thoughtfully planned out, but all decisions make an impact of some kind. Unfortunately, not all the decisions you’ll make as a leader will have the effect you hoped for and you’ll be left to pick up the pieces if your plan fails.
It’s important to remember, however, that this doesn’t mean you made a bad decision, it just means you made the wrong decision for that circumstance. The more you’re faced with having to make decisions, the better you’ll be at trusting your gut and navigating the fine line between right and wrong.
The next time you’re confronted with a big decision, take a minute to reflect on similar situations in your past: What worked? What didn’t? What resources can you use to back up your decision to ensure it has a positive outcome? How can the decisions you make lead you, your team, your company, or your project to success?
When it’s all said and done, you must remember that failure is all part of your path to becoming a stellar leader. Instead of letting mistakes, bad judgment calls, or wrong decisions stand in your way, embrace them as an opportunity to learn and grow. By keeping these key benefits of failure in mind, you’ll become the strong, well-respected leader you know you can be.