By Kendra Prospero, CEO
“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
– Truman Capote
I just came from the spring event for the Colorado Thought Leaders Forum (CTLF). At each event, I join local executives, leaders, and business owners focused on a common goal: to become the best leaders we can be, both personally and professionally.
After the gathering, one idea stuck with me, and I’ve been carrying it around all week.
It’s about creating an environment where people feel like they can fail.
This idea is radical and simple simultaneously, so let’s call it radically simple? Failure is one of those things we tend to avoid in our personal and professional lives. But, the truth is that no one benefits in an environment where mistakes are punished.
For employees, an environment where failure is not accepted can make them feel like they have to cover up, which floods them with stress. And for leaders, it stifles courage.
A Forbes article I read a couple of weeks ago discussed the same thing. “As a leader,” the author said, “it’s up to you to create a culture that accepts failure and encourages employees to embrace and learn from it.” And that definitely takes courage.
Courage at work— another topic that deserves more conversation! We want our teams to feel courageous because that spawns creativity and innovation. That’s the spirit that lets employees take pleasure in their work and, in turn, stick around for the long haul with your company.
So how do we create an environment that supports courage and allows for mistakes? It won’t happen overnight, and you can start gradually.
Here’s one of the best things I heard: Ask your employees during your 1:1, “What mistakes did you make this week? What did you learn?” Changing your team’s thinking around failure takes time, but it will happen.
Leaders. You have to be comfortable admitting when you’ve made a mistake too. Lead by example, and you’ll watch your company culture transform right before your eyes.
CTLF is the one business community where I am supported, stretch my thinking, and connect deeply with other leaders who make me better. I’m grateful for the space to think and explore thoughts like this because it’s core to who I am as a business owner and leader. Let me know if you want more information about the group.
Here’s to all the growth ahead— maybe, just around the corner. I’ll be back next month.
P.S. I opened this post with a quote from a fun book I recently picked up called I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like, by Dr. Mardy Grothe. It reminded me that there are so many possibilities and unique ways to describe everyday things.
If you’re a word lover or just want a new read, check it out and let me know what you think.