Failed or Failure

An important part of leadership is managing failure.  Not only do you have to understand how to deal with the situation when people fail, but you also have to create space to allow failure.

An organization’s willingness to fail will determine how far that organization will go.  An organization that handles failure as part of life and something that we can learn from will step out into new frontiers while the organization that discourages and punishes failure will maintain the status quo at best.

It all comes down to how we deal with failure when it happens because our response to a perceived failure will tell others whether or not some failure is acceptable.  To be sure, we should do all we can to resource our volunteers and staff members sufficiently enough to minimize the number of failures.  However, we also must be willing to empower them and encourage them enough so that they are trying new things, taking bold steps, and creating great opportunities.  It is inevitable that failure will, at least occasionally, be a result.

As leaders who are advancing the Kingdom of God, we must instill in the minds and hearts of those under our supervision that when one fails, they are not, in turn a failure.  There is great success in the attempt.  Any time someone attempts to do great things for the Church, they are headed in the right direction.  Sometimes, however, it does not work out.  A negative result like this can be devastating and can cause some to consider themselves a failure.  We must, as leaders, do all we can to avoid this illogical reasoning.

How do we do this?  First, we must find the positive.  In every situation…I don’t care what the failed attempt was…there is a positive lesson to be learned.  God uses every opportunity to teach us and guide us along the way.  So, even in the worst of failed attempts at ministry, God works with us and seeks to grow us.  We simply have to be willing and ready to listen.  Second, don’t dwell on the failure.  Address the failed attempt, make necessary changes, and move on.  Third, if someone under your supervision seems to be on a “losing” streak…give them a sure-thing.  Assign them to a task that you just know is going to be a success.  Sometimes, when we begin to feel like a failure, all we need is to experience a victory.

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