When we think of leaders we don’t often think of failures, but one of the hallmarks of the best leaders is knowing how to fail well. Every successful person is someone who has failed at something—and in some cases, many things—but without ever regarding themselves as a failure. They take risks, and sometimes the risks work out and sometimes things go wrong, but they remain positive and determined throughout.
Just as beginning skiers start out by being taught how to fall without injuring themselves, leaders should be taught, coached and supported in facing adversity and failure without shaking their confidence. Part of that process is developing the right attitude about failure by considering its benefits. Here are some of the most important:
Failure keeps us focused on our strengths. One of the principal differences between a winner and a loser is that a winner always concentrates on what they can do instead of the things they can’t. When you find an area of weakness—and we all have them—work to leverage it into a strength and use it to your advantage.
Failure teaches us to be flexible. Flexibility is key to success. Always be willing to vary your approaches to problems and circumstances to see what works best.
Failure teaches us to rethink what we deserve. Remember, you are what you think—so if you think failure happens because you don’t deserve success, it’s time to rethink. If you internalize failure and blame yourself, you’ll continue to find ways to fail. But if you externalize it, it will help you keep the right perspective. Take responsibility for your actions, but don’t allow yourself to take failure personally.
Failure reminds us that everything is temporary. Nothing ever stays the same; everything has an ebb and flow. Don’t allow yourself to view failure as a permanent state of being, or you’ll risk getting stuck in bad patterns.
Failure shows us it’s not fatal. When leaders fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a life sentence. It’s not the end of the world, but a chance to project yourself ahead and see yourself having overcome and persevered.
Failure disciplines our expectations. Failure can be helpful in learning how to manage expectations. It takes time, effort and discipline to overcome a setback. You learn to approach each day with realistic expectations and not get down when things don’t work out. The greater the accomplishment, the greater the challenge, the more a realistic orientation is required.
Failure instructs us to keep trying. Every leader knows that in order to succeed, you have to learn to try and try again. Take a page from highly successful individuals and learn to keep moving forward no matter what happens.
Lead from within: It is possible to cultivate a positive attitude about yourself no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. That’s leadership at its core.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.