Why Failure makes you a better Leader?


Successful leaders today need one important new skill that may not have been appreciated in the past-the ability to fail well!

Significant accomplishments of many leaders arises out from hundreds of mistakes and failures. Great leaders like Richard Branson and Howard Schultz of Starbucks provide great examples of how they bounced back from their business failures to create a powerful brand.

Richard Branson has tried many different things in his life. He has failed a lot. He has lost millions upon millions, if not billions, over the years. Many people would have given up along the way. But how he viewed failure and setbacks kept him to try again.

Howard Schultz of Starbucks learned the importance of determination, “So many times I have been told that it can’t be done. Again and again, I’ve had to use every ounce of perseverance to make it happen.”

Successful leaders view failure as a step to success. The two go hand in hand for everyone in every new adventure in life. Failure and Success are inseparable and you can generally learn much more from the failures!

Leadership expert John C Maxwell teaches us that, “only one factor separates those who consistently achieve from those who do not. The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”

Difficult times are not something to try to escape, but an opportunity for all of us to open ourselves to growth and change.

Failing forward in order to learn fast has become a mantra for places like Silicon Valley companies and other innovative businesses. Without embracing failure and learning, businesses stay behind the competition.

So how can leaders develop the courage to keep going despite failures and setbacks?

Stay humble-Humble leaders have a realistic view of themselves and the world around them. It also applies to their failures and mistakes. They have an ability to stay humble and have a clear view of an opportunity to learn and grow. Successful leadership does not lie in eliminating problems and mistakes, but growing through them to become a better leader.

Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes-We all at some point of time fail and make mistakes and it takes courage to admit those. When you are willing to admit your mistakes, you are sending the message that you learned something. That means you have stopped the blame game and took responsibility for your setback. We gain new knowledge and wisdom by pausing and reflecting.

Allow yourself to be fully human! Give yourself space and be right there with the feeling of failure without trying to run away from it. Notice your thoughts and what are you saying to yourself. Notice your thinking and come back to being present. We gain new knowledge and wisdom by pausing and reflecting.

Failure is the test our leadership character-Hal Urban reminds us that, “instead of letting our hardships defeat us, we need to welcome them as a test of character.” Failure can help us discover what we are made of deep down inside. It builds resilience and strength to deal with life’s difficulties.  You need a courageous heart to “drive” on the highway to success!

So when you face a failure, nothing wrong has happened to you. Life is pointing you in another direction. Another opportunity has opened up for you.

Do you think the ability to handle failure is an important skill for leaders?

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