Unleash the power of team

Dealing with the F-word

Dealing with the F-word – why failure is always an opportunity to grow your team

In our line of work, we get to work with a range of business leaders from all types of industries - yet one common theme keeps coming up – accountability and how to hold people to it. So it got me thinking about how can we make the process of holding people accountable a more positive experience?

Firstly, let’s assume the right conversations have been had up front and clear expectations have been established. These goals would also have measurable outcomes, a timeframe, the right resources and a level of commitment and agreement that has been determined from the outset. And, being an efficient leader, you will have also regularly checked in on progress and offered support where needed to keep them on track.

So what happens when you have done everything right - but your team’s results still fall short of the expectations that have been set?

Most people would probably find it easier to sweep the failure under the carpet and refocus on the next goal – but that robs both parties of the great reflection and learnings that come with the situation. Taking the time to review a failure with your team or individual team member shows that you actually care about their career success, their growth and the personal payoffs that come with being successful in their role.

Framing a performance review around coaching an individual to be the best they can possibly be and extending themselves to understand their capacity for greatness is when you really start to see attitudes shift. Afterall, no one really wants to put in a heap of effort to then fall short. Most people genuinely want to succeed as it connects to their own self-esteem and sense of satisfaction.

Holding people accountable at the same time as maintaining a real focus on supporting them to step up and expand their belief in their own capability can yield huge benefits. Sometimes you also have to challenge the person to look at their own self sabotage behaviors, learn from them and come back stronger.

It’s these moments of pure honesty in the face of failure that often yields breakthrough realisations – which typically culminate in a positive experience for all and leads to future success.

In life there’s always a choice – and sometimes taking the more uncomfortable, honest and harder road when managing a team can yield much bigger results in the long-term.


Check out our blog for more inspiration and a range of free resources on how you can develop a high performing team today! Michael Friis is a co-founder, facilitator and mentor for The Performance Team - a leading New Zealand consultancy dedicated to unleashing the power of team. He has also recently co-authored The Power of Team - A practical guide to breakthrough performance. Michael is an experienced facilitator and leadership coach who is highly skilled in developing award-winning teams. Prior to founding The Performance Team, he held a number of senior leadership positions and also successfully built up and sold a multi-million dollar sales and service business.