This article is about the importance of trying your best to allow, and encourage, others to bounce back from failure.
As you oversee someone else’s efforts in a particular domain, you’ll undoubtedly witness them fail in some form or another. Your children will experience failure learning new skills, and your subordinates will fail at meeting certain deadlines and milestones.
Especially when the stakes are high, it’s easy to get lost in a particular instance rather than the chain of actions leading to and from the failure in question. Whilst overseeing others’ failures, we tend to know about not being too harsh on them. You’ve likely already realized that failure is an important part of growth, and you aren’t likely to be unnecessarily harsh on those who fail.
One thing we forget however, is to play our role in cultivating the skill of resilience in the individuals we oversee and manage. Though you may be understanding of others’ failures, you can make a mistake by not giving them a chance to correct their mistakes and turn their failures around. Perhaps there isn’t enough time for your son to practice taking penalty kicks at the local park, and maybe you became less trusting of a subordinate’s ability to meet strict timelines after they failed to do so once or twice.
This article is about the times when you push back plans in order to stay at the park with your son for a while longer. It’s about being disappointed with your subordinates at work but still placing calculated trust in their abilities to bounce back and improve. This article aims to present things to remember in terms of sacrificing the potential downsides involved in hopes of reaping the benefits of allowing others to try and try again.
Trust Is a Currency to Be Invested
Think of your relationship with your closest friend. The trust you’ve developed between yourselves was built on a series of risks you both had to take. The first responsible thing you asked your friend to do for you wasn’t backed by concrete evidence for their capability to be trusted. You placed faith in their ability to do something important, and they followed through. The culmination of them doing a series of small, but responsible, favors for you, built your trust in their ability to perform down the line.
From your friend’s perspective, witnessing your growing trust in their ability to be there for you likely led to them being more trusting of you. From their perspective, they’ve shown you that you can trust them, and thereby would take it in good faith that you would reciprocate their trustworthiness.
Trust thereby, seems to act like a sort of investment. Placing trust in others tends to encourage them to place trust in you. By trusting those who fail under your supervision to be resilient – and giving them every opportunity to be – you’d encourage their development of trust in you. Your relationship with these individuals will improve with every attempt you make to allow them to be resilient in the face of failure. They’ll view you as a person who brings out the best in them, and one who trusts their abilities.
In return, you’ll witness these people being more trusting of you. You’ll notice your decisions, directions, and advice at work becoming more accepted by those who’ve experienced the warmth of your trust. Those who you’ve encouraged to be resilient will view you as someone they should listen to, as you’ve shown that you care for turning their failures into successes.
Initial Failure Is Better Than Early Success, If Success Follows Failure
With each attempt at success you allow others to take, the chances of them achieving it will increase. The decisions you have to make are thereby predicated on how much time and chances you’re willing to give an individual in their attempts at achieving success. The task at hand may be something trivial or something substantial, thereby each case will warrant a different perspective. However, try your best to push as far as you can toward the goal of giving these people as much time and as many chances as you can.
Encouraging others to strive to turn failures into successes will benefit you directly if you, in any way, rely on these people in everyday life. Encouraging the habit of being resilient in the face of hardship in others, will motivate them to express that habit when you happen to not be there. Your subordinates won’t always work under your supervision, and your children won’t always practice, study, or perform when you’re there cheering them on.
By playing the long game in this regard, you’d invest time and effort early to cultivate a desired mindset in those whose work and actions are important to you. Success after a series of failures not only feels good in the short term, its experience pays dividends in the long term too. Though difficult to measure, encouraging resilience in people who you call friends, teammates, or family, will undoubtedly benefit both them, and you, down the line.
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