Successful business people know the importance of finding value in failure. Sony began in the technology world making rice cookers that burned the rice. Henry Ford's first to car companies failed leaving him penniless. Even the most successful business leaders make bad business decisions. But it is not the mistake that changes the business leader, it is how they respond to the failure. Any person looking to become a successful entrepreneur needs to learn how to fail, and learn how to quickly. Part of becoming successful is learning from the mistakes and using the lessons learned to push the business forward.
If you have made a few mistakes as a leader, here are a few things you can do to bounce back quickly after the blunder.
1. Be positive about the failure.
Like many things, failure is a learning process. But many people do not view failure as a place to learn, especially if they are accustomed to succeeding. Instead of allowing the failure to decrease your confidence, use it to increase your confidence. Now you know what not to do and can move forward with more confidence in your next venture. Keep in mind that how you handle failure will influence how your employees handle failure. Set a positive attitude toward failure and your employees to mirror that same attitude.
2. Take responsibility and apologize.
When a mistake happens, take responsibility for the mistake and start looking for solutions. Do not blame someone else for your mistake or make excuses. Just own up to the mistake and move forward. You also should work to set up an environment where your employees feel safe to admit their mistakes. The best leaders will not only take responsibility for their mistakes, they will also take responsibility for their employees mistakes; however, they should not take the blame for the mistakes. They should work alongside their employees to find a solution to the issue. This will show your employees that you are willing and able to help them succeed at their job.
3. Fix it.
If you made the mistake, fix it yourself. It should not be the responsibility of your employees to fix an issue you created. You should not only work to fix the problem, but should also be working to prevent it from happening again in the future.
4. What went wrong?
After you have taken responsibility for your failure, the next thing you should do is figure out what went wrong. The only way you can learn from the failure is to figure out what you did wrong and work to prevent that same thing from happening again. If the failure was so large it cost you your job, you can still move onto useful and new things. When you show to companies that you are not afraid to power through failure, they recognize and respect that tenacity.
Whether you are suffering from a catastrophic failure or a small failure, how you react to the failure can set you up for success or failure. Successful business leaders will take time to fix the mistake and learn from the failure.