Learning from a failure is critical. Connecting effort with failure at an emotional level is crippling. After all, we’ve already agreed you did your best.
Early in our careers, we’re encouraged to avoid failure, and one way we do that is by building up a set of emotions around failure, emotions we try to avoid, and emotions that we associate with the effort of people who fail. It turns out that this is precisely the opposite of the approach of people who end up succeeding.
See entire post from Seth Godin.
Great leaders make lots of mistakes. They get the title GREAT LEADER because they push through the mistakes and get on with things. In the end, they make more good/great decisions than bad ones.
I have learned over the years that many of these same leaders had to grow through getting hung up on thinking about some of those bad decisions. No one really accepts failure with no pain, some just dwell on it less. In addition, too often their people are still pointing at the bad decision and going “See!” – but doing it secretly.
So how does a leader get through this? One way is to process bad decisions openly with their team so everyone learns from those choices – including them. It shows transparency, vulnerability, creates safety for other people to step forward, and teaches people to problem solve and push through.
When I see leaders saying I am sorry and leveraging their team to learn I stop and pay attention. It takes a special leader to do that and a special follower to allow it. I like being part of teams like that.