Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ignorance Journal #2

Another class assignment. This week's topic: Failure in leadership.

Read it.

Failure is a huge part of leadership because no matter what, you will fail. Unfortunately, people don't like to fail. As a result, failure and its effects, uses, and how to deal with it is not studied often. There are many things I could learn about leadership failure.

For instance, how can you turn a failure into a leadership- or trust-reinforcing experience? By all reasonable expectations failure should erode your followers' trust in you. But I've seen time and again teams made more cohesive by failure. How is this possible? Why does it happen? How can a leader insure that the positive outcome is achieved?

Additionally, what are the true effects of failure? Besides missing the team goals, blowing a deadline, or whatever the specifics are of the failure, how does this change team dynamics? I don't know specifically if this can bolster confidence to prevent failure from happening in the future or impact morale negatively. Does failure target specific team members in different ways? Can it separate teams as well as knit them tighter?

Finally, I'm not clear on how leaders should use failure. Is it the responsibility of the leader to minimize or aggrandize failures? Is it ethical to make emotional plays when people are down from a previous failure? How does a leader go about targeting specific failures within the whole, i.e., is it OK to point the finger when you are a leader? What are some effective strategies for using failure as a positive force of change on your organization or team?


3agsmom said...

A leader should neither minimize nor agrandize failures but admit them, find the reasons for them, figure out how to prevent them in the future and learn from them. When a leader owns up to his(her) failure and takes ownership of the team's failure, the team is strengthened as is the leader in the team's eyes.

Admitting your mistakes is the first step in improvement and growth.