True wisdom cannot be learned in a lifetime,
but can be revealed in a moment,
for it has always lived within each and every one of us.
Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Leaders, do not possess mindsets that adapt to failure, easily, if at all. Things go wrong, of course, but leaders do not call these things or themselves “failures.” They may refer to them as glitches, mistakes, bungles, setbacks, or even lessons; but rarely failing.
Keep moving forward
When one such leader was asked about the hardest decision he ever had to make, he answered that he did not know what a hard decision was. A leader will approach decision-making with the idea that there is a strong likelihood that they might be wrong. This doesn’t dissuade them. Quite the contrary, they just do the best they can with the information they have available, and worry about handling obstacles as they arise.
Not mistakes, lessons
Another, slightly different way of looking at this is to realize that you will make mistakes, everyone does. So, determine to make them as quickly as you can in order to learn the lesson, and move forward. That does not mean that you should make irrational or ill-informed decisions. A good leader doesn’t view making mistakes as negative or irrevocable. They feel free to press on and try something new or different. They have the deeply abiding belief that something useful is to be learned, and hopefully not at a super high cost.
Whether you consider yourself a leader or not, you are going to make your share of mistakes. Make use of them as learning tools and do your best to not make the same ones twice.
Leaders also know the value of their “intuition”. While you shouldn’t base your actions and future on something as silly as tossing a coin, there is something to be said about your “gut” feelings about situations. Often business people become so involved with systems and checks-and-balances that they forget about that their gut instinct is what got them started down this road. Check in with it every now and then.
While it is not strictly logical, intuition does draw on a combination of things. It is not just a guess. But it is your best guess based on experience, knowledge, and analysis as well as a lot of internal or gut-generated information that you may have forgotten that you have access to.
Practice makes perfect. No, but it does make you better.
You become a stronger leader in your business by practicing being a leader. It is not a series of courses that you can take at your local business school. It is learned in the school of life as you continue to learn and grow in your business.
As a leader, you have to set standards for everyone’s behavior. Whether you think it is fair or not, you must set even higher standards for your own behavior. You must do this because appearances are often more important that facts. You have heard it before. Perception is reality. What someone sees is what they believe.
Do you maintain the appearance of leadership? Do you project a confident appearance of whatever is deemed as the “look of success” in your field? Always be conscious of presenting yourself as a confident, filled with enthusiasm, and as a strong leader of your team, whether that is 1 person or 100 employees.
You must always project yourself in a way to protect the faith that your people and your customers have in you and your organization.
Strong leaders know that leadership is a lifelong learning experience. And when they make a mis-step, they simply pickup, check out the lesson and continue to move forward. The ability to bounce back is a quality that every leader should have in abundance.
When you blunder, and you will, get up and try again quickly. As the old saw says, “The best strategy is to fail forward fast.”