Leadership Essay

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When it comes to the lessons and values of a good leader, there are some subjects and examples that come along more than others. For example, the type of leadership that works best is the subject of many debates. Also common are the actual people that supposedly serve as the best examples of good leadership. However, there are some lessons and examples that are less obvious or prevalent. However, to say that these less obvious examples are any less profound or effective would be a mistake. One of those examples would be failure. Failure is something that is often described negatively when it comes to leadership lessons. However, the subject of failure has a specific and prominent place in leadership tutelage. While failure is often labeled negatively when speaking of leadership, the subject can be the cornerstone of many teachable moments and good leadership teaching.


Failure was certainly something that came up during the interview that was done for this report. Indeed, the interviewee notes that failure should not be shunned or avoided when it comes to learning how to be a good leader. Indeed, there should be an embracing and heavy usage of failure. The interviewee notes that are two main examples of this. The first is by looking at the failures and mistakes of others. There is always going to be some amount of personal trial and error when it comes to any good leader. The depth and breadth of that personal failure varies from person to person and from leader to leader. However, it generally does and should exist with all good leaders. That subject will be covered with more depth in just a second. In any event, it is very useful and timely for good leaders to take note of the failures of other leaders. Those failures can serve as an example of what to do, what not to do, why one way is better than another and so on. Further, these lessons come at much less expense and pain than if the lesson were personal and acute in nature. For example, the lesson of evolving and changing with the times can be seen with the company that was known as Blockbuster Video. Their business model became more and more obsolete with time. Rather than change and update with the times, they stayed in the same patterns and business methods that they had used for years. Since the economy and society has passed them by, this led to Blockbuster ceasing to be because what worked in the past was no longer viable. Since they didn’t change, this led to Blockbuster failing as a business in different and more modern times (“A Quick Look”, 2018).

The other main reason that failure could and should be a major teaching point for any good leader is that some amount of failure is to be expected if a leader is being aggressive enough.
Meaning, a total lack of failure and challenge would be a sign that a leader is being too timid and reserved when it comes to risk and decision-making. The interviewee described this dynamic in an interesting way. First, there is going to be some modicum of risk no matter what. Even the most conservative business person is taking at least some risk. However, this risk exists on a spectrum and being too shy is problematic in its own way. Sure, being too aggressive means that there is more risk of failure. However, being too conservative leads to less profit and reward than is reasonably possible. Put another away, there is a train of thought that suggests that lack of failure is actually emblematic of someone that is not being aggressive enough. The argument is that while risk should be avoided in any reasonable possible, avoiding it entirely is not good in that some rather safe wins can be lost due to being too conservative. In short, the interviewee suggests that taking calculated and precise risks can normally be a great thing. In other words, taking a risk when there is a 75 percent chance of failure is something that should be avoided whenever possible, in most cases. However, taking a chance when there is a 10 or 20 percent chance of failure is a much safer bet. Further, the interviewee states that getting too fixated on what will happen if failure comes along is not the wise course. For example, an email or other marketing campaign is surely going to fail with a majority of the people that see it. Indeed, if there are 100 emails sent out to prospective clients, it is entirely possible that less than 10 even respond at all to the campaign. However, this is perfectly fine given the amount of time and effort that is generally needed to get the emails in the first place. Further, the reward that can be garnered from those 10 “nibbles” can deliver a lot of business. In other words, there is a risk vs. reward spectrum in play. There is a risk involved. However, it is quite small and the time or money spent as part of that risk is minimal. However, the reward is quite high for those situations and prospective clients that work out. The key, per the interviewee, is for that marketing email (or whatever medium it happens to be) needs to be concise, efficient, polished and in line with the business and its strategy. So long….....

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A Quick Look at 2018 for ASCs: Experts advise administrators to adapt like Netflix, not Blockbuster. (2017). Same-Day Surgery, 41(12), 6-7.

Farndale, E., Pai, A., Sparrow, P., & Scullion, H. (2014). Balancing individual and organizational goals in global talent management: A mutual-benefits perspective. Journal of World Business, 49(Talent Management), 204-214. doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2013.11.004

Farrell, M. (2017). Leadership Reflections: Extrovert and Introvert Leaders. Journal Of Library Administration, 57(4), 436-443. doi:10.1080/01930826.2017.1300455

Moorman, C., & Day, G. S. (2016). Organizing for Marketing Excellence. Journal Of Marketing, 80(6), 6-35. doi:10.1509/jm.15.0423

Umashankar, N., Ward, M. K., & Dahl, D. W. (2017). The Benefit of Becoming Friends: Complaining After Service Failures Leads Customers with Strong Ties to Increase Loyalty. Journal Of Marketing, 81(6), 79-98.

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