How do you react after a failure? (94-1)
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts,” Winston Churchill. David’s moral failures in seducing another man’s wife and then finding a way to cause that man’s death could have derailed his leadership of Israel but his failure was not final. Read 2 Samuel 12:13-31.
David demonstrated several actions and attitudes that can help any leader survive a major failure:
- David did not hold himself above accountability. A leader that will submit to the same authority and core values they hold up to their team will get a second and third chance.
- David was open and transparent about his mistake. It’s easier for a team to tolerate mistakes admitted than mistakes denied.
- David had a responsible attitude. A leader who owns up to their behavior will last longer and fare better than a leader who fails to take responsibility for their behavior. The team isn’t fooled by a leaders “act” and they quickly spot an attitude of arrogance and self-righteousness.
- David demonstrated an ability and willingness to change. Leaders must demonstrate they are humble and teachable and willing to change or they will repeat their mistakes. One definition of insanity is “doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.”
- David accepted the consequences of his mistake. A leader that accepts discipline for their mistake wins the respect of their team. A leader that tries to avoid necessary discipline, or who takes the easy way out because their position allows them to do so, loses the respect of their team.
- David demonstrated a hunger to grow as a leader. Any team will stay with a leader in process if they are moving in the right direction.
What is your normal course of action when you have made a mistake that could harm your relationship with God, your future as a trusted leader and your team? If your normal response diminishes you as a leader, what core truths do you need to change or develop to take different actions “next time?”
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