I was reading an article on workintellignet.ly about leadership the other day, and it gave three pieces of advice on how companies can inspire leadership. The first little segment was entitled ‘Welcome Risk-Taking’.
I couldn’t agree more. The risk-taking the article was referring to wasn’t suggesting companies should allow their employees to be reckless, but that by taking managed and small-scale risks, individuals can become better leaders, better at analysing risk, and can grow from their mistakes.
It really is true that a person who has never failed has never learnt; there is much more to learn from a failure or a turbulent success than from a project that was a walk in the park. That’s why it’s important, in my view, to forgive failure, of yourself and those around you. Penicillin is the result of an accident. Know what WD40 stands for? Water Displacement 40th Attempt. The inventor, Dr Norm Larsen, went through 39 formulas before cracking it. You never know what brilliance might emerge from that failed project or that presentation that went belly-up.
So to be both an effective leader, and to inspire leadership, failure doesn’t have to be a dirty word or something to be dreaded. It is a natural part of healthy experimenting, learning, fine-tuning, and becoming better leaders, presenters, and people.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford.