You Probably Know These Five Tips To Overcoming Failure?

You Probably Know These Five Tips To Overcoming Failure?

We have all failed and made mistakes, many of us do it on a regular basis.

We can choose to react to failure, some reactions will help and others will not.

I want to share with you one of my lowest points and what it taught me.

You probably already know what I’m going to say though, right?

No Blame

If you are in a leadership role it is your fault, every single time.


There is no blame, no get out of jail card you can play and no hiding behind others. As a leader the buck stops with you.

Quite a tough message to swallow, huh?

I have lived this mantra many times when my team has fallen short in achieving their goals.

I will often see a confused look from my peers. Why?

I tell them the teams failings are my fault and my responsibility.

‘But, you can’t do the job for them!’ I will hear them cry.

‘You can’t watch over them all the time.’ I will hear them yelp.

‘You are being too tough on yourself.’ As they attempt to sympathise.

I understand why they say this and some of what they say does ring true, but..

As a leader I’m responsible for:

  • Culture
  • Environment 
  • Coaching
  • Communication
  • Setting expectations
  • Setting the standard

This list could run to hundreds of words on its own, this is just a snapshot of what a leader does.

If I get the above right the mechanics of the team click into place. The result should be fabulous performance every single day.

If I get it wrong I have to reflect and then refine my approach in overcoming failure.

Six Month Drought

Last year my team went six months without achieving a key metric.

It was frustrating, demotivating for both me and the team and there did not seem to be a way forward. Everything I tried either hit a dead-end or another metric suffered.

My fault.

I looked at how I was leading the team and paid special attention to my coaching sessions. I realised there was an opportunity to do something different. Coaching that would help them be more effective.

I was overcomplicating the sessions. Giving them too much to think about and action. I stripped it back and we focused on doing the basics to the highest standard.

Results started to improve.

The team focused on making sure each day was great. They then took this a step further and looked to improve on the previous day. This is a great way for any team to go about their daily business.

The results have been strong and some of the best in the Dept for the last few months.

Taking responsibility and owning poor results led to action. It influenced the team to focus on doing the simple things well and they delivered on this.

A Question Of Credit

Still not convinced about owning the poor results?

Who takes the credit when things are going well?

Some of you may be humble enough to say the credit goes to others. When it comes down to performance reviews and pay increases I’m not convinced you will be so generous!

If you take credit for the good times, then you have to take responsibility for the bad.


Great leaders do this all the time. You have to step up to the plate in overcoming failure.

Don’t Swerve In The Road

Here are some actionable ideas you take away, the next time your results don’t work out.

  • If it goes wrong take ownership of the result and the situation.
  • Focus on how you can fix the problem and how you can make your team great.
  • Rip up your own rule book and do things in a different way.
  • Challenge others if you hear them taking credit for the good and swerving the bad result!
  • Talk to other leaders you admire and respect to see how they turned bad results around.

I could fill a book with the mistakes I have made and I’m sure many of you out there could do the same.

The mistakes we’ve made have brought us to this point. They have made us the leaders we are today. We must never lose sight of this, especially when we hit that imaginary wall.

Taking responsibility for bad results will make sure you have a laser like focus on solutions in overcoming failure.

Your team will feel this and join you on the journey.

It will make the success all the more sweet.

Embrace the badness!

Believe and Take Action

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Ian Ruane

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