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Are You Afraid of the F-Word?

Do you avoid the f-word in your organization? That word is FAILURE and it is often seen as well...failing, when in fact, you’re helping your employees grow and learn. Post-It Notes, Silly Putty and Dropbox all came from failures. “The best companies are those that encourage failure, embrace out-of-the-box thinking, and allow employees to make mistakes and see what happens,” states Simon Casuto, co-founder and president of eLearning Mind in this Forbes article.

Start with these strategies, try them out, fail a bit, then make them your own:

  • Value - Create a culture that values new approaches and making mistakes. Embed it in your value system and everything you do. That means not getting mad or frustrated when mishaps occur, but learning from each experience.

  • Train - Build failure into your training programs. We encourage people to go right out and try out their new leadership skills and come back with what worked and what didn’t work. Provide reflection and support immediately when an employee fails at a new task or responsibility so they’ll feel good about their efforts.

  • Delegate - One of the toughest jobs any of us has to do is delegate, because we’re afraid the job won’t get done perfectly. Choose responsibilities and tasks that challenge your employees. Select the right employees for the job - those who are capable of coming up with new ideas and innovative approaches.

  • Reflect - When projects fail, or things don’t go the way you planned, take time with your team to determine what worked and what didn’t. Brainstorm ways to do it better next time and celebrate your progress with each re-do.

Most importantly, as the leader, take the responsibility for mistakes that happen and never lay blame on your team. Then, give your employees all the credit when they discover the next “Post-it Note” or a new solution that no one has ever thought of.

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