Chapter 11

Hacking the Failure Gap

The only real leadership failure is failing to focus on the main thing—serving those you lead. Everything else is merely a development opportunity.

Fear and failure are not dirty words, but you’ll find most leaders treat them as such. They go out of their way to hide their fears and explain away their failures rather than confront them and learn from them. One of my pet peeves is the current trend of labeling fear as a weakness and failure as unacceptable. Leaders must understand how to give permission to fail in a way that moves things forward not sets them back. Understanding how to hack the failure gap empowers your team to think and act differently—a good thing.

Fear in and of itself is not a bad thing, rather it is how people choose to cope with fear that will determine its effect on their life. Ask people who have been in combat, and they’ll tell you that it is their innate and often heightened sense of fear that helped to keep them alive. Good soldiers don’t give into fear, but they learn to respect and manage their fear so that it actually becomes their ally and not their adversary.

Show me someone who fears nothing, and I’ll show you someone who lacks judgment. Show me someone who has fears but refuses to admit them, and I’ll show you someone who has an issue with pride and arrogance. Fear doesn’t make you weak, nor does it mean that you lack faith or ability, it just means you’re human. I learned long ago that fear is a warning sign ...

Get Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.