If you ask around, many describe a strong leader is someone who is successful, makes things happen, doesn't fail and is flawless. In fact, a strong leader is someone who has tried to succeed and failed, tried to make something happen and had it flop, has made numerous mistakes and has flaws. The simple truth, a strong leader is one who is not without fault and shows their flaws. They fail and learn. They fall and get back up, and they let those around them witness it all and see they are "human."
Failure should not be seen as a weakness, but rather should be seen as a strength. With failure comes growth. The ability to admit your mistakes. To realize you did not have yourself as organized as you planned. To understand that maybe you cannot do it all on your own. And to then ask for help, realize where you went wrong and learn from it.
Failure is actually a catalyst to personal and professional growth. It does not mean we are bad at what we do, or that we are not appreciated. It means we had a learning experience. In the end, a mistake that is recognized and that we can learn from and fix, can result in success. Celebrate the effort, and the realization that it can be done better. Rather than focus on what went wrong, find the silver linings of what took place despite your mistakes.
Leaders in the workplace, whether you are a business owner, a manager or a supervisor, should be helping their staff to be resilient. All leaders have made mistakes at one time or another. But it is not rare to see leaders either scorn mistakes, or even worse, try to take over and fix them.
Instead, allow your people to make decisions that may not have the best outcome. This shows them you have faith in them to try and gives them a chance to grow. If they fail, let them figure it out. Hesitate to jump in and take over, because all this does is tell those you work with that you don't believe or trust in them to follow through and finish a project. This can take away self-confidence and the opportunity to let them figure it out and is ultimately defeating.
By letting those around us fail, then figure it out, get through it and succeed, we instill pride in others. Allow the opportunity to let others fail as a chance to build people up when you could knock them down.
We do not know all the answers. No one does. Not the entry-level employee or the CEO of a major corporation. We can all be human, though. We can let our values be our compass. Show courage, compassion and kindness. At the end of the day, we can never regret sticking to our values.
Give yourself permission fail. Let yourself try, screw up and learn from it. By doing so, we make it so that others around us feel acceptance when they make mistakes and learn how to pull out of them. And by modeling that, when we do make a mistake, it is not the end of the world, but rather an opportunity for growth and future success, we encourage others and keep them from fear of trying.
As a practice, try meeting with your staff, or even your family regularly. Ask the question, "What did you fail at recently? What did you learn? How could you do it better the next time?" This shows that mistakes are human and that we all do them, but also shows the other side of an error – the work that went into fixing it, and in the end how it can be avoided or how a success came out of it.
Mistakes happen. They are a blip in the overall scope of life. Do they affect humankind? Rarely, but how we react to them does. We can choose to learn from them and grow personally or beat ourselves up. We can scold those who make them or make the effort to build others up by encouraging them to find a way out.
Get out there and do your best, but know, if you fail, it is not the end of the world, rather an opportunity to do better the next time.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.