Failure is never a positive feeling. Nevertheless, constantly trying to avoid failure is just as bad because it means you are unlikely to take the risks necessary to achieve success. Failure is not something to purposely seek out, but it's certainly not something to fear if and when it does happen.
The statistics say that 90% of new businesses fail in the first five years. However, the studies say that focusing on statistics like this only makes it more likely you will become a failure. Fail in the right areas and don't obsess over setbacks.
The reality is failure does make better leaders, and here's why.
Failure Shapes Leaders
Someone who never fails either never takes risks or constantly finds a way to weasel out of responsibility. The greatest leaders in the world are shaped by failure. Take a look at tech executives, such as the co-founders of Google. They dropped out of college. Most would see that as a failure, and yet they created one of the historic companies.
The most rewarding decisions of your life will be shaped by how you react to failure.
Resilience to Run a Business
Resilience is how people react under pressure and how they bounce back from disappointment. The only way to gain this resilience is to dare to fail. There are no leaders who are born to be leaders. This is a disservice to the men and women who are good leaders as it simply dismisses their achievements as genetics, God, or some other force out of our control.
Failure will teach you resilience and how not to buckle when you experience difficult times.
Learn What Works
The only way to achieve the success you crave is to think outside the box. Copying what someone else has done will not make your business into the organization you want. It will only take you part of the way, as all innovators have realized.
To learn what works and what doesn't you have to test. This is the number one rule of marketing, and it's what crucial A/B testing is based around.
If you are unwilling to fail, you will never go through this process and you will never achieve the things you want to achieve, as a result. Accepting failure will push you to try things you have never tried before and potentially win big.
Better Employee Morale
There's nothing worse than working for someone who believes they can do no wrong. Executives like these tend to always shift the blame to a lower manager, or to simply pretend a setback never happened. It's not a good trait to have.
Employees who see that you as a leader can fail won't look down upon you because of it. They will see it as a positive trait. It will encourage them to try new things because they know that if it goes wrong they aren't going to lose their jobs over it.
Some of the best corporate ideas around have come not from leaders but from the people working under them.
Of course, this is no reason to actively seek out failure. Someone who fails repeatedly without success is simply a bad leader.
Who has Your Back?
Take a startup company as an example for this section. Everyone starts working in good faith. They all love the product and they all believe they can succeed. Then a major setback happens, such as having a poor first release.
There are two sets of people at this point. One set will continue to work with the company and figure out where they went wrong. The other set will either walk out of the company or become snarky and unmotivated.
Failure has taught you who REALLY believes in what you are doing and who is going to bail when the going gets tough. You wouldn't have known that unless something had gone wrong.
To become a great leader in 2016 you have to be comfortable with things going wrong. Great leaders see them as learning opportunities, rather than setbacks. As long as you learn from the mistakes you make, failure is a worthwhile endeavor.
It will help you make the tough decisions and better appreciate your responsibilities as a leader. Countless organizations have turned themselves around simply because a big failure made them change their way of thinking.
In 2016, embrace failure. It could be the point where your company makes a change for the better.
How will you learn from your failures during this coming year?