Failure-Tolerant Leadership is the ability of an employer or manager to accept failure as nothing more than a temporary setback on the journey to eventual success. In the viewpoint of such a leader, present failure not only can, but when properly handled and used as a guide to future strategy, likely will become the very catalyst that will fuel future success.
Failure-Tolerant Leaders not only have a knack for seeing the potential good that can come of failure, but they also possess the uncanny ability to convey their own optimistic, success-oriented vision to others. Rather than seeing and projecting the negative side of failure, as most people tend to do, they recognize that with every failure comes a corresponding opportunity—-an opportunity to take the insights gleaned through failure and use them to forge an entirely new strategy for successfully reaching either the original or a newly modified goal.
Failure-Tolerant Leaders recognize that whenever a momentous task is undertaken, there will always be a tremendous risk for failure. This potential for coming up short of the mark simply goes hand-in-hand with any attempt to reach it, and the Failure-Tolerant Leader knows this. This is one reason why the Failure-Tolerant Leader does not engage in personal criticism when an employee fails to meet a goal, but rather utilizes both objective review of the strategy used and balanced evaluation of where the plan may have gone off track and why.
Failure-Tolerant Leaders realize that personal attacks on employees for their errors, shortcomings, inexperience, lapses in judgment, or unwise decisions are counterproductive and only tend to guarantee that the pattern of failure will repeat itself in the future, as the employee becomes even more wary of taking risks. The Failure-Tolerant Leader, instead, projects to the employee the sense that they are both working together to find a solution to a shared problem—one which both of them have an equal stake in.
In this way, the Failure-Tolerant Leader invigorates his or her staff, infusing them with the confidence they need to go out and give it one more try, to be bold enough to think the situation through, explore new avenues, develop a superior strategy, and take another carefully calculated risk.
In short, Failure-Tolerant Leaders encourage their employees to adopt an attitude of daring—to dare to dream, to plan, to hope, to work toward a goal, and perhaps most importantly, to believe in their own ability to achieve it—if not this time, then maybe the next.