"Failure is not an option." We've all heard this famous quote, which originated with the Apollo 13 space mission. When lives were at stake with a failed trip to the moon and a damaged spacecraft in 1970, the words rang true for those at NASA.

However, when it comes to the business world, failure is really an option. In fact, learning from failure is sometimes the best option.

Too many times, though, leaders run the other way because of a fear of failure. Here are some tips to help leaders learn from failure:


Leadership is hard enough. However, learning from your mistakes is the best way to embrace the great opportunity failure can be. Analyzing what you did and understanding why will go a long way in helping you in developing a great attitude.

Moreover, the real question is how this failure will shape your life. A leader will make full use of this failure to become a better leader. A positive attitude will also help in making better decisions from the failure.


There will always be growing pains from a bad experience. It is what you do with it that will make or break you as a leader. There is value in failure; there will be a positive outcome, even if you do not see it right away.

Acknowledge that you made a mistake. Leadership expert John Maxwell indicates, "Facing difficulties is inevitable. Learning from them is optional." The best option for growth is to learn from your errors and adapt the results in your leadership.


No one can take responsibility for your actions but you. True leaders recognize that their circumstances will not define who they are. Instead, it is how you handle the failure, which in the end will define what kind of leader you are.

Bad experiences happen to the best of us. When leaders rise above their circumstances, others will notice. This is the true test of leadership. People in your organization will want to do more for a leader who takes responsibility rather than someone who hands it off.

Finally, difficulties will arise no matter how good a leader you are. The results from learning and growing from failure are the best recipe for success. Do not let fear envelop you, instead use the bad experience as a way grow yourself and others.