June 21, 2022

Leaders Learn from Their Setbacks


Have you ever experienced disappointment? Well, of course, you have. We have all experienced disappointment at some point in our life. Okay, let me ask you another question. Have you ever suffered a setback?

During my life, I have had my share of disappointment and setbacks. So, the question is how to move forward and learn from our disappointment and setbacks?

I recently had a conversation with a friend, a former colleague, who is struggling with disappointment and a career setback. My friend was removed from their leadership position. While they were not terminated, they were demoted and placed into a subordinate role.

As you can imagine, my friend is having a tough time. Now, I must admit I was surprised by the decision. Why? Because there are several other leaders in the organization whose performance is subpar. 

Listening to my friend, I wondered how I could help them. Finally, I decided the best thing I could do was be there and listen. Now was not the time to offer advice.

Once my friend finishing sharing, I shared one of my many mistakes as a leader. Unfortunately, I was a young leader who placed her trust in the wrong person. As a result, my team missed several critical deadlines, and I was moved to a different team.

As we continued to talk, I asked my friend several coaching questions to shift the focus of the conversation. During our conversation, I shared a couple of lessons learned from my experiences. Now, while I love to tell you my friend has embraced their transition, that would not be true.

After a couple of weeks, I checked in on my friend. Although they had begun to settle into their new role, I noticed my friend was still struggling. Their disappointment and disbelief had transitioned to anger and a feeling of failure.

My friend is still struggling; however, they are trying to embrace the lessons I shared with them. So what advice did I share with them? Well, I shared three lesson’s one of my mentors shared with me. So what are the lessons?

  1. Take ownership – No one is perfect! We all make mistakes. As the leader, you are accountable and responsible for your team. Therefore, take ownership of the success and failures.
  2. Check Your Attitude – Life is 10% what happens and 90% how we respond. People are always watching how we react to situations. So, maintain a positive attitude.
  3. Fail Forward – Reflective experience is the best teacher. Ask yourself, what are the lessons you learned from the experience?

To grow as a leader, it is essential, to be honest with yourself and learn from your success and setbacks.

“Failing forward is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.”

– John C. Maxwell

Success and failure go hand and hand. As a leader, your success will depend on the lessons you learn from your setbacks.

What leadership lessons have you learned from your setbacks?



The MOORE Leadership Moment podcast grows your leadership with experientially learned and researched-based leadership principles and best practices. Click HERE to listen.

Lead Confidently
Expand Influence
Achieve Significance

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    You may also like

    November 29, 2022

    November 22, 2022

    November 15, 2022

    Dr. Kim Moore

    About the author

    Hi, I'm Kim, Your Leadership Guide. I equip aspiring leaders to lead with confidence, emerging leaders to expand their influence, and accomplished leaders to achieve significance!