How To Reduce The Organisational Fear Of Failure

Incident reporting in the workplace may be a source of anxiety for many people. However, this is immensely helpful in identifying problem areas, which in turn, leads to the development of innovative and tailored solutions. 

Reporting failures is essential for any organisation. But, many people do not like to fail because they fear the consequences. The only solution is to make an effort to reduce the fear of failure within the organisation.

The Importance of Failure-Tolerant Leaders


Executives need to be the driving force behind this culture shift. Failure-tolerant leaders encourage failure so that everyone can learn from it. 

Simply communicating this isn’t enough. Leaders within the organisation need to demonstrate this and admit to their own failures when they occur. This is necessary for development to be sustainable.

Let’s look at a few practical ways in which failure-tolerant leaders can achieve this.


Define Acceptable Mistakes


Innovative efforts within organisations need to be well planned and thought out. Sometimes this isn’t enough, however. Plans can fail but there are ways to encourage learning from these failures. Executives need to define what “acceptable failures” look like. 

Executive advisor, Doug Sundheim, argues that when employees are aware of what these acceptable failures look like, they are less fearful of them. This encourages employees to explore and take more risks which should lead to more breakthroughs. 

He calls these reasonable failures “smart failures”. Lessons learned through smart failures can be incredibly valuable in creating new products and better processes.


Encourage Employee Involvement


Employee involvement is of utmost importance in the process of reducing fear. By encouraging open communication, particularly around issue reporting or incident reporting, you can avoid the “Us vs. Them” dynamic. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that good ideas can come from anyone. Involving more people means more ideas can be shared. As a result, there are more opportunities for improvement.


Get Smart About Reporting Failures


Defining the way forward is the goal of encouraging failures. Analysing your findings on failures is therefore the most crucial part. This is where incident reporting solutions, such as, can be of great value. 

This type of solution improves accessibility and ease of use for all stakeholders as well as employees. Its collaborative functions encourage employee involvement and help make administration less tedious. 

Make sure that your employees know how to report incidents when they occur. With the right channels in place, you can provide constructive feedback to ensure the same issues don’t happen again. Thus, you can promote lessons learned and reduce the fear of failure.


Final Thoughts


Failure is a part of life that all organisations need to face. The key is to leverage failures to your advantage. 

Cultural change needs to start with strong leadership and there are many practical ways in which executives can lead this change. However, all employees need to be on board and involved in the process along the way. 

So, bear all this in mind when you set goals for your organisation - and why not invest in a great platform that can make the process a lot easier?

Are you looking for a tool to share best practices and facilitate organisational growth by discussing openly about mistakes and failures? ticks all the boxes for low-threshold reporting, real dialogue, case management, security and more. Book a demo or start a 30-days FREE trial to see how it can help your organisation:

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Incident Reporting Learning from Failure

Camilla Petersen

Country Manager, Denmark