Chances are, a great basketball player has missed more shots than a lesser player has ever attempted; a truly great athlete is one who understands that failure is a necessary step on the road to success. This applies to virtually any context in life and certainly to business leadership. Many CEOs who have led their companies to the pinnacle of financial success can also look back on failures. The greatest leaders are able to accept failure, learn from it, and keep moving forward. The following are some of the steps leaders must negotiate in dealing with failure.
Step 1: Accept the failure.
Often a person’s first reaction to a failure is to deny it, both to others and to him or herself. This may come from a desire to protect the company from further disaster or to protect his or her personal reputation. However, accepting the failed project or failed business as the new reality leads to an opportunity for new action.
Step 2: Accept responsibility.
When something goes wrong, chances are a lot factors play into the failure. It may be that multiple people made bad decisions. A leader may try to lay blame on another person or circumstance in order to avoid the shame of failure, but in reality, a leader is held responsible for everything that happens in his or her organization. Accepting that responsibility is a position of strength, not weakness.
Step 3: Identify what went wrong.
The greatest leaders understand that every failure is a learning experience. Therefore, it’s important to spend some time examining the failure and evaluating what went wrong. Ideally, a leader will be able to see missteps that can be avoided in the future. It’s also important to talk over the failure with employees because they may be able to share a valuable perspective that the leader isn’t aware of.
Step 4: Make a plan for moving forward.
No matter how devastating a failure is, a strong leader never gives up. Once a failure has been thoroughly analyzed, a great leader is ready to make a plan to move forward with the next project. Check out this page to learn more info regarding Jim Tsokanos and his advice for business leaders.