Failure Is a Very Real Option Unless Your Leadership Skills Can Prevent It
Gene Kranz famously said, "Failure is not an option." When it comes to businesses and strategies, and the people who are attached to them, failure is one of the many routes which could be taken while you prepare to stoke your plans for the future.
But, don't you learn from failure? In a weird way, isn't failure one of the building blocks of all successful people?
Sure, and everyone loves hearing a good fail story because it is encouraging and helps us learn from our mistakes or the mistakes of others. However, whether you're involved in a simple startup or a billion dollar company, failure isn't something you hope for.
Fact is, failure could be an option for your business, but it doesn't have to be. Gordon Tredgold has worked in transformational leadership roles for over 20 years. He has been called one of the top leadership speakers and one of the top leaders to follow on this topic, and I had the pleasure speaking with him about leadership.
When it comes to leadership, there is no one more qualified to explain these roles and how you can expand on them to build a successful business model with your employees. Here are Tredgold's three most important leadership responsibilities and how you can maintain a level of success (and keep failure out).
Assume the successful position.
There's no greater role a leader has than to put people in the position to be successful at all times. This means the person is successful both at work and at home, as well as mentally. Tredgold says people always feel successful when they are creating, challenging themselves, and pursuing something that fulfills their life on a personal level.
As a leader, your role in this matter consists of making sure failure is the furthest thing from their mind. Seventy-seven percent of businesses that failed, the owner had some inkling of the foreboding failure to come.
A true leader will understand the roles and responsibilities of each person they're working with. Let's be honest, if everyone knew what success looked like, we wouldn't have leaders prodding people forward. However, a great leader will provide the tools people need to be successful at whatever they're trying to accomplish.
No one starts a business excited about the failure part. It's a scary thing to consider to be sure, but leadership skills are required to keep the boat floating and everyone pointing in the right direction.
Your company can assume the successful position by you taking time to model what success looks like for your workers or the people around you who directly affect your business model. Show them what it means to be decisive and make the hard decisions which generate more productivity and revenue. Listen to and observe the people and ideas which can grow your business more effectively. You are the role model, and you directly affect the people around you by continuing these practices that keep failure at bay.
Give a clear plan.
No one likes working for someone who doesn't abide by the standards and practices first set when they started the business. Granted, strategies and end goals can change, but being wishy washy about every little thing can hinder the effect you have on your business and the people who are working toward the same goal.
This is where communication becomes a signal characteristic of leadership. When you allow your employees to see your vision, you have given them ownership of something that is personal to you. Sharing your vision will allow them to embrace your ideas and opinions, and it is here where you can build upon them.
Related: It's Your Vision: Help Them See It
Communication breeds respect and growth inside of your business, and when these two get together, there is no limit to how far your company can go. What happens if you change the plan without telling someone about it? Not only is time lost because your team is working on something else, you have to explain mid-stream what you're trying to do.
You want to be a leader that people clearly want to follow. When you understand this, you will soon learn that people want to follow someone who is respectful to their needs and passionate about the goals everyone is working toward and who has the courage to face calculated risks.
Nurture people to do a better job.
Tregold explained how nurturing people will eventually bring them to be self-sufficient in the work they are doing. "Leadership is not about keeping the training wheels on forever. Hold them up until you're confident they are able to do the job well by themselves and let them ride," he says.
Nurturing people by getting them exciting and energized is the perfect way to build self confidence and to show them you're trusting them to do the job well. This can go a long way, and it shares with them they are pointed in the right direction and doing the right thing. Doing all of this work up front and continuing positive reinforcement consistently is the art of true leadership.
Eventually, they will start to look for opportunities where they can be more successful simply because you put enough faith in them to complete a previous task. In the end, you don't want someone who has to be held up all the time. It's important to realize when to nurture and when someone is just wanting you do to the work for them. Recognize the differences and adjust accordingly, as needed.
You didn't start your business because you are expecting failure. But, in all essence, failure could be lurking around the corner if you're not careful. Be the leader your company needs you to be and always remember these three important aspect of leaders from Gordon Tredgold to help you in your quest to find continued success.