“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” – John Wooden
First, I love inspirational quotes and I think this one encompasses what a good team leader does to encourage every member of the team to reach their potential. The simple fact is that no one key makes a team a success. Rather, the team should try to emulate all three of these elements.
So, let’s start with the idea that “Success is never final”. The best teams never stop striving for success. They continue to look for areas of improvement, areas of opportunity, and ways to find solutions. Team leaders acknowledge, appreciate, and encourage these behaviors.
How does “Failure is never fatal” fit into team leadership? We are all humans. We all make mistakes. I have lived by an idea by mother instilled in me as a child, “If the word accident didn’t exist, everything would be an on-purpose”. The fact is that failure is simply an opportunity to grow and team leaders must be able to recognize and empathize with the guilt the team member feels over the failure and lift them up rather than further knocking them done. Remember that people inherently do something (work, volunteer, study, etc.) for personal growth and satisfaction. If they stumble in that process, be that hand up and remind them they have learned something new.
Finally, “It’s courage that counts” is that simple wiliness to take a risk. I have a quote on my wall in my office that reads “The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all” and it is something I have openly encouraged in the teams I have been involved in. If you take no risk; you will never change, you will never fail, and you will never succeed. Teams must have a natural desire to take a risk and this only happens by the leader encouraging it in all aspects of the team process.
The key to developing a great team is to encourage and empower team members to strive for new solutions, take risks, and to not fear failure.