When Nik Wallenda crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope recently, the feat itself was overshadowed by Wallenda’s decision to defy the television network and remove his tether at the last minute. His reason: The Flying Wallendas are not thrill seekers; they are prepared professionals taking reasonable risks.
The public’s response to Wallenda’s defiance was not surprising—most people agreed that they would have stayed tethered. While the risks we take may not be as perilous as Wallenda’s, if we know that there is a safety tether in place, we’ll feel more secure knowing that if we fail, we can always try again.
Great Leaders Know
Great leaders know that penalizing too severely for failure will actually stunt growth and innovation. No matter how great the risk may be, it’s crucial for leaders to know how to “catch” their people by giving them enough space to fail, learn and try again. This in turn will inspire them to try new things—knowing there is a safety tether in place—and help to create a culture of trust and support.
What Message Will You Send?
It’s difficult to know if failure will be the consequence of taking a risk. With the constant need to compete and excel in today’s world, it’s important be supportive of your people when they take risks. By doing this, you’ll be able to unleash your team’s potential and watch your company soar to new heights.
- How does my company support taking risks?
- In what ways can I create a culture of trust and support?
- Do I utilize the consequence of failure as an opportunity to grow or reprimand?