Want Your Employees to Learn?

Encourage Them to Get Straight Fs

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” — Denis Waitley, The Psychology of Motivation

We live in a society obsessed with success. So it may seem strange, but we’re going to encourage you to let your employees fail — again and again.

According to a University of Texas study, a new skill “must be culled from a string of mistakes.” So, the truth is — failure is the backbone of learning.

Consider a child who’s learning to read. If her teachers make fun of her mistakes or her parents mock her stumbling, she’ll be afraid to try. If she confuses how good she is as a person with how good she is as a student, she might even face paralysis.

But, if her teachers make it safe for her to get it wrong, if her parents are patient and encouraging as she tries again and again, eventually, she’ll be reading herself bedtime stories.

Some benefits of making space for failure in learning:

  1. Permission to fail gives employees permission to try.
  2. It’s through failure that we learn what success looks like.
  3. Failure makes us smarter.
  4. Failure often yields innovation.

Here’s how to encourage your employees to fail better.