The Value Of Failure In Leadership | Asim Qureshi

The value of failure is priceless. If one could look by not neglecting the cost of failures by the illusion of our achievements. However, I learned this from my favorite Leadership Thinker and Executive Coach Marshall Goldsmith during his visit to a TerraBiz and Nutshell Event Karachi in 2013.

In his own words, “The Success Delusion.” .The success we all are prone to overestimate because of:

. the positive reinforcement of our past experiences.

. Hence, assuming that past is predictive of more glory in the future.

. One of the greatest challenges for leaders is to let go of the past victories.

Therefore, qualities that make leaders successful are also sometimes the ones that cause them to eventually fail. You may not believe it applies to you.

Analyzing Failure

In his book “Leading” Alex Ferguson, the most successful football manager of all time, explains. An approach to life with a positive attitude towards failure. Remembering the epic injury-time win by Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League Final. Turning a 1–0 defeat into a 2–1 improbable victory within 101 seconds of injury time. The fear of failure kept driving them on towards a refusal to give up.

Ferguson admits that over the years he has privately spent more time contemplating games that the club lost. He reiterates that defeats are a result of “what we fail to do” rather than what our opponents did. It is healthy to approach disappointments in that manner.

Leaders Listen More

The best coaches rather than pursue success, focus on increasing their teams’ intellectual capital. That is to say, experience, knowledge, and creativity. A process that is more collaborative than supervisory. Conversations are less about succeeding or failing than about what can be learned from the event.

When a leader is deeply engaged in that discussion. Listening is more central to this process than talking and that’s what great leaders do more. In this zone, evaluation is less relevant than the subject of where to go from here.

Collaboration Over Competition

Competition affects coworkers with a hunger to win rather than to solve problems. The booming start-up culture based on risk and failure is one way to look at it. Understanding that it is the real road to innovation.

Medals for performance are usually good for threatening teamwork. Because they encourage competition above collaboration. In my opinion, founders promote collaboration more They see it as the best means for tapping into the imaginations of everyone involved. Such people don’t feel the need to win rather solve problems that make an impact on people’s lives.

The growing value of Empathy

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we approach failure today. A lack of clarity about future events across the board made us all realize. With lockdown presenting an abundance of challenges, both from a professional and personal perspective, genuine empathy, communication and clarity have been key competencies that strong leaders have had to embrace.

Many leaders are now contemplating how they can nurture the positives. As a result of working differently during the pandemic. It’s no more about the blame game or whose fault it was. One hopes this leads to a sophisticated culture of understanding the value of failure.

Culture Is The Key

Smart leaders are likely to create a culture that upholds circumstances and people. The use of technology has been of supreme value in helping the shift to work from home. For some working from home has been more productive while others look forward to returning to the office. Balancing their individual preferences and circumstances against the needs of the business, creating a culture of involvement, fairness, respect, and inclusion.

At the same time pushing new boundaries to ensure progress leading to growth and success. However, failure can be an entirely different matter at the individual level. Because somewhere inside of us we all fear it.


In conclusion, success can only grow from realizing the value of failure. Leaders should insist that their organizations develop such a culture. A clear understanding of what happened-not of “who did it”-when things go wrong. After all, without failure we humans don’t learn from mistakes, control, and make corrections.

Here is another favorite quote. Whats yours? Do comment and Share.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Coelho

Valuable References :

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There By Marshall Goldsmith

Leading By Alex Ferguson with Michael Moritz

Strategies For Learning Harvard Business Review

Originally published at on April 4, 2021.

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