Embrace failure as part of growth

Seth Godin recently wrote, "The relentless search for 'tell me what to do'", in which he argues that people want to be told what to do because that absolves them of responsibility.

He's absolutely right. What his post could improve on, however, is his recommendation on how to address this, namely "When asked, resist."

He's missing the larger point here; this "resist" tactic is reactionary and whilst at first glance it may seem reasonable, it's actually counterproductive. How about attacking the problem at its source?

What is the problem in this case? Could it be that as a leader, you haven't created a workplace environment in which it's okay to fail, or drop the ball? So the person begging to be told what to do is afraid of doing just that – dropping the ball.

How about embracing failure, and particularly embracing the lessons to be learned from it?

The old saying that "anything worth doing is worth doing miserably at first" implies that before you get good at doing what needs to be done, you may experience failure, while at all times recognising that you aren't a failure.

When people know they can try and fail and not be reprimanded for doing so, they soon get good at what they do. Then you won't have to resist telling others what to do, because they won't be asking for it. Growth means trying, so encourage people to try!

Posted: 24/02/2010 11:04:11 PM by Andy Klein | with 0 comments
Filed under: failure, godin
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