A good leader is supposed to motivate and guide a team to victory. Oftentimes, the vision of success and all the rewards that come with it is a powerful way to keep the team spirit up and running. Yet the chance of failure looms in every endeavor. A Harvard Journal survey even states that nine out of ten business start-ups fail.
So in the unfortunate scenario of failure, where and how does a leader gather the nerve to convince the team to look at the bright side and start over? The task of inspiring people is always a challenge, but to have the courage to keep on persuading everyone to give their best efforts in times of defeat is the mark of a true leader.
Prioritize your well-being.
A leader is not immune to the devastating effects of failing to accomplish a target. Just like team members, the one in charge is likely to suffer from bruised ego and crushed confidence. In fact, the head of an organization may even feel worse.
So, first things first. As a leader, start the healing process by taking steps to manage your own emotions. Make sure that you are not shrouded in negativity once you decide to face your group after a loss. It does not mean putting on a false front but showing them that you are in no way about to give up. A research study published by the Journal of Applied Psychology concluded that a leader’s mindset affects the mood of team members. It is therefore important that a leader continue to cast a positive mood even through tough times.
Give ample time for recovery.
Even though you want to make it clear that you are all moving forward, you do not have to rush into things. If you pressure everyone to move on too soon, you may end up with stressed and frustrated team members. On the other hand, giving everyone a chance to feel bad or vent about it can pave the way to a fresh start.
Discuss what went wrong.
The worst thing you can do is totally forget about the failure. Instead, you want to emphasize all the valuable lessons that the team can learn from it. So it is advisable to set a special meeting where everyone can freely talk about it. If you want this meeting to achieve its goal, acknowledge the mistakes done but do not resort to pointing fingers.
You may have set an unrealistic target or failed to lay a contingency plan. Whatever the reason, a thorough discussion about the circumstances that lead to failure will help the team avoid the same problems next time. Even so, while reflecting on the mistakes, you should also recognize the right things done. Aside from letting the team see that failures are sometimes inevitable, it is also a good reminder that failures can sometimes be a prelude to success.
Get the team ready.
While healing takes time, your team cannot get stuck in a roadblock for too long. As the team rise from the failures, an effective leader lifts everyone’s morale and gets them ready for new goals. At this stage, it is also a good idea to encourage everyone to contribute new ideas or share suggestions. After a failure, you want to see a stronger and wiser team that is ready and eager to tackle challenges ahead.
Failures can happen but the exceptional leader takes it as an opportunity to show how an organization can learn and grow from it. A leader also knows that the process of getting over a loss may be difficult, yet understands that sometimes it is just a phase that they need to go through to reach success.