Career Management – How to Deal With Failure-The Need to be Resilient

Being topical this time, the England football team has come to terms with failure, and all those pictures of footballers and fans in tears is a powerful picture of how we can get hurt and disappointed. It would be rare for anyone not to feel similar, but what we need to do is to think about how we will react.

There are many ways to deal with disappointment and many times I have spoken with people who did not get a promotion and their way of dealing with it was to disengage from the company, to moan and do the minimum. Sometimes this would coincide with a new boss taking over their team, into the job they had hoped to get. What sort of impression does this give to their boss – someone who is not interested and helpful in the job and who makes negative remarks? Their chance of another promotion reduces the longer they maintain this approach.

I appreciate it is hard but they need to turn the situation around. Companies will sometimes ask me to work with someone who is not being effective at work, but the company wants to help them return to how they used to be. With listening and understanding most of the people I have worked with have been able to turn the situation around, and in large companies this can be through a sideways move for a new challenge. However one or two let their feelings fester and they can find that they lose their job, not usually a good position to be in. When I worked with Martin it was a wake up call and we were careful to plan his strategy for the next organization he was to join.

I personally remember years ago that a boss did not give me a bonus. I was so disappointed; I always had one and it was usually enough to pay for the family holiday. I spoke to my boss, found out the reasons, and it was hard not to be defensive when I found them unfair. I learned that I could not expect my boss to have my best interests to heart and made sure I had regular update meetings with her seeking feedback on how she thought I was doing so I could address things straight away. I also got myself a transfer and like a fairy tale was promoted within a year.