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Should Employees Deliberately Fail To Succeed?

Failure, regardless of the situation, is always frowned upon. However, if one does not fail, how will they learn how to succeed?

In the workplace, there is no doubt that every employee, manager and leader strive to succeed. Realistically speaking, no one will ever set themselves up for failure in the workplace. But what if failure is the only way to learn and climb up the ladder of success.

Take for instance Walt Disney, who was fired from his job by a newspaper for being “not creative” enough. Undeterred, he went on to create Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and was nominated for 59 academy awards, winning 32, for his animations. Another example is basketball legend, Michael Jordan, who was not selected during the tryouts for his high school basketball team. The reason? He was simply not tall enough. Instead of letting his failure and disappointment get to him, he picked himself up and pushed himself to the limit, never losing sight of his goal – to be on his high school basketball team. His relentless drive transformed him to one of the greatest basketball players in history today, breaking numerous world records and becoming one of the most decorated NBA players in history.

While employees need not be star players or athletes in the workplace, such mindsets can also be advocated in the workplace environment. Employees should be comfortable with a fair amount of “failures” within the workplace. After all, that is how they can learn from their mistakes to improve themselves the next time round. However, when it comes to “delivery” day, their final work product need not fail.

At the same time, employers should not berate employees for failing at work. Providing an avenue for employees to explore and test their ideas can help employees build character. Also, it creates trust and foster closer work relationships between employers and employees as there is avenue for employees to learn and grow. Of course, employers should also condition employees to not consistently fail, but encourage a culture of learning and developing, while accepting that people make mistakes – undeliberately – all the time.

At the end of the day, it is human nature to err. Regardless of how intelligent or creative one may be, it is through failures that people learn and improve the next time round. Be it in school or within the workplace, failing is the only way to eventually succeed.

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