In most areas of business, leaders are seen as a failure when they get it wrong. It often means something terrible—an indication they’ve done something wrong. Their planning was sub-par, the execution was awry, or the overall approach was way out in left field. Getting it wrong is often feared, but we believe that perhaps “failure” is just misunderstood.
What if the secret to effective leadership lies not in avoiding failure but in its embrace? This counterintuitive concept of embracing failure is essential to leadership.
Learning from Failure
In a now-famous study, Google engineers have learned how failure is vital to their success. These engineers set audacious goals regardless of the potential for failure. This approach, akin to a pole vaulter who always lands safely, no matter the outcome, creates an environment that fosters innovation and encourages risk-taking.
“…the freedom to fail is the ability to know that you have permission to reach and dream and aspire to great innovative things. And there’s always the freedom and safety to fall and fall in a way that is welcomed and expected. And the truly influential leaders I have seen are not afraid to take the leap or set the big goal. And they expect failure.”Brian Schubring
Freedom to Fail
Giving yourself and your team the freedom to fail allows you to set and pursue ambitious goals without fearing failure, stifling your creativity or innovation. It will enable you to create a safe space where failure is not only tolerated but is also expected and seen as a part of the process towards success.
Failure and Strengths
Adopting a strengths-based approach to failure and leadership is also a tremendous power. This approach focuses on maximizing the strengths of individuals and teams rather than fixating on their weaknesses. By providing the freedom to fail, adapt, and express, you can reveal and enhance the strengths of your team members. This approach fosters a culture of resilience and adaptability, which is crucial in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment.
Sharing your visions and missed goals is another key theme when discussing failure and Strengths. When leaders openly share their visions and acknowledge missed goals, they create a culture of transparency and trust. Moreover, openly discussing failures and setbacks can be a powerful motivator, fueling your team’s momentum even when facing challenges.
In the face of failure, adapting and moving on is a critical leadership skill. The most successful leaders understand that the masterpiece is never the first attempt. They view each failure as a learning opportunity and a stepping stone towards success. By giving themselves and their teams the freedom to fail and the power to move on, they foster an environment of continuous learning and improvement.
Embrace your failures, and adopt a strengths-based approach to move on and achieve your goals. Using failure as part of your leadership “skills” can revolutionize your leadership style and propel your leadership journey. It’s time we reframe failure and see it for what it truly is – an opportunity for growth, learning, and success!
Share a recent “failure” in your leadership and how you used that to fuel future growth. We’d love to extend this conversation, so become a member of our free online community and join the discussion.
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About The Leadership Vision Podcast
The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents.
Please contact us if you have ANY questions about anything you heard in this episode or if you’d like to talk to us about helping your team understand the power of Strengths.
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