All our lives, we are taught that failure is negative. From getting a bad grade in school to a flaw in designing a report for management, we are instructed that failure is not an option. Saying that failure is not an option has consequences, though. This idea that an employee cannot fail leads to many employees fearing taking risks—risks that would, if successful, greatly benefit the team or company. It is up to managers and more importantly, leaders, to show trust in their employees.
Managers and leaders are very different, although they are commonly considered to take on the same role. Managers can be leaders, but simply having the management title does not automatically make someone a leader. Being a leader requires more than being a manager. A manager, without being a leader, is usually going to be results driven, focused on success, and lacking the ability to inspire. This type of character typically falls into the trap of the “failure is not an option” notion.
Leaders are more inspirational and do not fear failure in the same way. Trust is the cornerstone of leadership. Being able to allow employees to try and fail is welcomed in the mindset of leaders. If an employee fails, then a leader can help that employee, or team member, become more successful through a learning experience. A leader also can help team members understand the significance of important objectives rather than just command results. This is a good opportunity for leaders to demonstrate creative and innovative solutions. A good leader will also be passionate and committed to his or her role as well as the team. Finally, leaders need to show a degree of empathy and ensure they are relatable to his or her team. A strong leader will encourage a team to do their best and entrust them whether they fail or succeed. This will help the team overcome the “no failure” mentality.
How do you view failure? Are you a leader… or simply a manager?