We’ve heard the term “pay it forward”. I also like to tell people to “fail it forward.” Failing It Forward is learning from mistakes and helping others avoid those same mistakes.
Leaders shouldn’t be afraid to share their mistakes, especially to those who work with them. I have worked with some leaders who are afraid that they are being vulnerable to attack when they admit their mistakes. Perhaps that could be the case in a few instances, but more than not you are showing people you are human.
Failing it forward is more than just showing people you’re human, which is a self-centered view focusing on how you look. Failing it forward is about others. It’s about helping people succeed so they don’t fall into the same trap or fail the same way you did. It’s educating your staff and volunteers on how not to do something. You don’t necessarily have to tell them how to do it, but it’s telling them how not to do it. You can commission them to find out other ways. Hopefully, they will figure it out with resounding success, but maybe they will fail, which will only strengthen them causing their leadership capacity to grow. They can then ‘fail it forward’ to someone else or learn from their own mistakes and give it another go.
Fail it forward today. Find someone on your team—paid or non-paid who you can pour not just your successes into, but also your failures. Your failed experiences could spark the next great idea or movement in another person.
What say you?