We all fail — every day. Our mistakes, missteps and even colossal blunders are inevitable. And, we’ve all been coached to face failure, learn from it and move on. Leadership expert and author Travis Bradberry in an article for Inc. magazine says we can do more and use failure to our advantage.
“The actions you take in the face of failure are critical to your ability to recover from it, and they have huge implications for how others view you and your mistakes. There are five actions you must take when you fail that will enable you to succeed in the future and allow others to see you positively in spite of your failure,” Bradberry says.
1. Break the bad news yourself.
If you've made a mistake, don't cross your fingers and hope no one will notice, because someone is going to — it's inevitable. When someone else points out your failure, that one failure turns into two.
2. Offer an explanation, but don't make excuses.
Owning your mistakes can actually enhance your image. It shows confidence, accountability, and integrity. Just be sure to stick to the facts and don’t give excuses.
3. Have a plan for fixing things.
Owning up to a mistake is one thing, but you can't end it there. Instead of standing there, waiting for someone else to clean up your mess, offer your own solutions.
4. Have a plan for prevention.
In addition to having a plan for fixing things, you should also have a plan for how you'll avoid making the same mistake in the future.
5. Get back on the horse.
It's important that you don't let failure make you timid. That's a mindset that sucks you in and handicaps you every time you slip up. Take enough time to absorb the lessons of your failure, and as soon as you've done that, get right back out there and try again.
Throughout the process, keep these attitudes in mind:
“Failure is a product of your perspective. What one person considers a crushing defeat, another sees as a minor setback. The beauty is that you can change how you see failure so that you can use it to better yourself,” says Bradberry.