Great leaders know that they, and their teams, will make mistakes. They know that they will implement initiatives that fail. And, knowing that failure and mistakes are inevitable, they have the courage to trust their staff and try new things anyway. They have the ability to manage the mistakes and failures so that they don’t result in the organisation’s demise.
These leaders understand what their organisation’s critical success factors are as well as the risks associated with various choices. They have developed an organisational culture where it is safe to admit mistakes without fear of ridicule or punitive action. They focus their attention on the key things that could affect the organisation’s future and allow others to take care of the things that are less consequential. They actively manage these key risks by being aware of the likely triggers to failure, taking steps to reduce these risks and planning how they will take corrective action should the risks materialise.
When a mistake is made or plans fail, they turn it into something positive. Perhaps a review of the cause and effect can uncover truths that lead to a better product or service, or improved efficiency. It might be an opportunity for staff development, or for an ‘unlikely’ employee to display new talents. If customers have been adversely affected, they use the situation to improve their reputation by doing much more for them than just righting the wrong.
These leaders admit their faults, resolutely taking their organisations forward through failure.
This article was first published in the Mercury Bay Informer of 5 December 2018. See www.theinformer.co.nz