Everyone fails because we are all human, but frequently we forget this and studies show people around the world stress out about failure more than almost anything else. For people who are known as “perfectionists,” this is extra applicable to them. Great managers, executives, and companies make it routine to use failure to develop their employees in the workplace. A failure is always an opportunity to learn something, as the saying goes. Experiencing failure can move a person out of their comfort zone and push them to new heights as they learn new limits to their capabilities. Here are some tips on how to approach failure productively.
The first step to using failure as a developmental tool is to specifically think about it as such and cut out all the negativity. Dwelling on negativities around failure, or focusing on regret of having failed, will do no one good: yourself, your team, your company, and for the people who take their work home with them, not their families either. Remember failures are inevitable on the path to learning and becoming better at whatever it is you do professionally (or personally).
Also make sure you are very clear on why you failed. Even if it was partly someone else’s fault, ask questions (to yourself and others with authority on the matter) on what you can do to detect the same type of failure yourself next time, instead of relying on someone else. Become very familiar with the information gathered here because if you know why you failed then you should know how to avoid the same failure again in the future. Or depending on the situation, if the failure is completely unpredictable but “bound to happen eventually,” you should collect information on how to fix the failure as quickly as possible; bonus points for fixing it quicker than last time.
If the same type of failure keeps happening over and over, and you’ve done everything you can to prevent the failure or get better at fixing it to no avail, it may be time to consider if the career path you are on is the right one for you. That is easier said than done of course, but people change careers all the time. Failing to see how constantly failing in a career that is not right for you produces multiple, serious negative consequences is one failure you do not want to let go unchecked for long.