Are You Recovering From Failure Too Slowly? New Data Shows The Resilience Problem At Work – Forbes

Posted: September 23, 2019 at 5:47 pm


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Imagine that youre in charge of landing a big account. You delivered a presentation that you thought was great, and you thought the potential client loved it too. But today your boss told you that they went with another firm. The boss had some tough criticism for you about the quality of your presentation. Which of the following best describes your reaction?

This is an actual question from the online test How Do You React To Constructive Criticism? and each of these choices represents a different style of reaction.

Choice #1 represents a fixer approach; when we get rejected, one of our first thoughts is lets find a solution or lets try this again. Choice #2 is a processing approach; when we fail or get criticized, we want to figure out exactly what went wrong. Choice #3 represents an empathizing approach; we try to understand why this person is rejecting us. And Choice #4 is an analyzing approach; we begin by analyzing the validity of the criticism.

You can see in the chart below that the fixer approach (Choice #1) is by far the least common, while the processing approach (Choice #2) is the overwhelming favorite.

Leadership IQ

Now, heres the big discovery. When we match those responses to how people feel about their job, we see that while the fixer approach (lets just try this again) is somewhat rare, people who adopt that mindset love their jobs more than anyone else.

Leadership IQ

People who respond to failure or criticism by immediately looking for another chance to try again are 1.5 times more likely to love their job than people who respond by analyzing the validity of the criticism.

In other words, the faster you bounce back from criticism or failure, the more likely you are to love your job.

Now, theres a valid argument to be made that more people should take a processing approach and start reviewing every interaction theyve had with that potential client to assess if they made any mistakes.After all, this could represent a high level of self-awareness and self-correction; attributes that would putatively lead to improved performance down the road. And perhaps some people dont take long enough to analyze their mistakes, are too quick to try again, and risk making the same exact mistakes.

But Ive got other data that tells me that the problem is usually not a lack of self-awareness, but rather insufficient resilience.

One of my studies, called "Employees Need More Resilience," asked more than 30,000 employees a question thats a classic test of resilience: "When I really make a mistake, I immediately start looking for another chance to try again." We learned that while 27% of employees say they Always start looking for another chance to try again, 20% say they Rarely or Never do.

Whats clear is that no matter how we assess this issue, we find a gap in peoples resilience.And there are a lot of people who could benefit from bouncing back from failure more quickly; just getting back on the horse and trying again.

Interestingly, the leaders to whom we report can significantly impact our willingness to try again.If our leader is someone who responds to our mistakes by yelling and rebuking, it wont take us long to figure out that being risk-averse and avoiding the possibility of failure is easier than striving for greatness (and thus risking failure).

But there is a leadership style that responds well to, and encourages learning from, our failures; the Idealist leadership Style.

More than 500,000 leaders have taken the test What's Your Leadership Style?And we know from the data that about one in 10 leaders has an Idealist leadership style. This means they believe in the positive potential of everyone around them. Idealists want to learn and grow, and they want everyone else on the team to do the same. Theyre open-minded and prize creativity from themselves and others.

If youre working for someone with an Idealist leadership style, it doesnt mean that theyre going to celebrate every failure.But it does mean that theyre going to push us to try again, to get back on the horse, and ensure that we dont spend too long ruminating about our mistakes.

If youre lucky enough to have one of those leaders, congratulations.And if youre not, I would encourage you to try this approach.

The next time you make a mistake, and youre hesitant to immediately try again, ask yourself why.Are you truly expecting to find something you did wrong? And if so, how long are you giving yourself to discover your mistakes? I find that many people say they want to analyze their mistakes, but they dont put a formal cap on how long theyre taking to do so.So they get stuck in a never-ending spiral of rumination, which ultimately serves as a form of procrastination, rather than as a true problem-correcting endeavor.

Give yourself one full day to pick apart your mistakes and then, if you havent discovered a specific correction you can implement, force yourself to try again. By capping how much time you give yourself to process your potential mistakes, you force yourself to more quickly get back out there and try again.

And as the above data makes clear, not trying again is currently a bigger problem than not sufficiently analyzing our mistakes.

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Are You Recovering From Failure Too Slowly? New Data Shows The Resilience Problem At Work - Forbes

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September 23rd, 2019 at 5:47 pm

Posted in Self-Awareness