• September 27th, 2020

Opinion: Failure in the lives of individuals, bosses and subordinates

The founder of Positive Prescription, Samantha Boardman, tells of her one-time fear of the word “fail.” She says it implied “a permanent and helpless state of being”. 

Warren Bennis and Robert J. Thomas ask the timeless question: “Why is it that certain people seem to naturally inspire confidence, loyalty and hard work, while others (who may have just as much vision and smarts) stumble, again and again?”

Bennis and Thomas conclude that “one of the most reliable indicators and predictors of true leadership is an individual’s ability to find meaning in negative events (failure) and to learn from even the most trying circumstances.”

“When we fail to achieve our desired goal, it is because we failed to sow the right seed in the right soil at the right time.”

In its issue of November 22, Thrive Global refers to instances of people who complain about their bosses: “First, people like to complain, and second, bosses can be a pain. This isn’t subjective: 82 percent of companies fail to put the right person in managerial roles, according to Gallup research.”

Thrive Global continues: “Twenty-five percent of managers report never having received any managerial training, according to a 2019 survey of 500 managers. Not only does a lack of training leave managers unprepared, it also leaves their teams susceptible to poor, self-determined practices.”

There is general agreement that “leaders who both inspire people and generate results find ways to constructively disrupt established behaviours to help employees break out of culture-weakening routines.”
Failure is, therefore, not “a permanent and helpless state of being.” Idowu Koyenikan says failure is “the constructive feedback that tells you to try a different approach to accomplish what you want.”
For Craig D. Lounsbrough, “failure is not the deterrent for the next try. Rather, it is information that empowers the next step.”

An equally important lesson for teams, however, is consistency and authenticity. “Building trust also requires a willingness to admit when you don’t have all the answers. An effective, trustworthy manager is transparent about what they know and what they don’t, and leans on other team members for support.”
Not surprisingly, research shows that “employees are more inclined to find new jobs rather than staying loyal to one company if they don’t trust their leaders.”

The subject of failure, of bosses and subordinates is, sadly, more serious than most people care to acknowledge. A recent study by Harvard Business Review found that “80 percent of over one thousand respondents said their boss has ‘a significant weakness’ that everyone knows and discusses covertly with each other, but not directly with their manager.”

The chief training officer at Thrive Global, Joey Hubbard, observes that “when leaders don’t ask for feedback, morale sinks.”

Navalent Consulting’s advice is that “the reality of building effective stakeholder relationships and sustaining them over the long haul is not an elective course. It is a mandatory prerequisite. It’s difficult work and it costs all parties involved.”

Eric Garton says “inspired employees are themselves far more productive, and in turn, inspire those around them to strive for greater heights. Our research shows that while anyone can become an inspiring leader (they’re made, not born), in most companies, there are far too few of them.”

“The leaders of government agencies and non-profit organizations are beginning to learn the importance of role modelling that ‘walks the talk’ as a requirement for leading change. Organizations send two concurrent sets of messages about change. One set of messages goes through formal channels of communications, such as speeches, newsletters, corporate videos, mission statements, and so forth. The other set of messages is ‘delivered’ informally through a combination of casual remarks and daily activities.”

In today’s fast-changing business landscape, it is important to take note of David Kolzow’s observation that “large-scale organizational change usually triggers emotional reactions, including denial, negativity, reluctant choice, tentative (and suspicious) acceptance, or resistance to commitment. Leadership can either facilitate this emotional process of ignore it. Clearly, the latter course places the transformational effort at peril.” Clearly on the road to – fail.

Staff Reporter
2019-12-06 08:47:41 | 9 months ago

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