Management Tip of the Day: Ways to respond to failure

Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:59am EDT
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BOSTON (Reuters) - Different people can see the same events in a dramatically different way, and in the workplace that is particularly evident when it comes to underperformance and failure, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and ( Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"Everyone reacts differently to failure: some immediately accuse others while some take the heat themselves, even if undeserved.

Next time you and your team fail, resist the temptation to place blame. Take these three steps instead:

1. Think before you act. Don't respond immediately or impulsively. Doing so can make matters worse. Take the time to consider several possible interpretations of the event and how you might react.

2. Listen and communicate. Never assume you know what others think. Gather feedback and then explain your own actions and intentions.

3. Search for a lesson. Mistakes happen. It may be that you're to blame, someone else is, or no one is. Create and test hypotheses about how and why the failure happened to prevent it from happening again."

-Today's management tip was adapted from "Managing Yourself: Can You Handle Failure?" by Ben Dattner and Robert Hogan.

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<p>A memento with Depression-era humor owned by Kristin Bertrand is shown in this undated handout photo released to Reuters October 27, 2008. REUTERS/Bertrand Family/Handout</p>