Celebrating Success And Learning From Failure As A Leader

We experience good times and bad times as a leader. Those good times come from leadership successes and seeing people grow. The bad times? Those are the times we’ve failed to do what we know is right, a project goes south, or we experience an issue with team members.

There’s good news regardless of whether or not you’ve experienced success or failure. You can learn and celebrate both.

Celebrating Success And Learning From Failure As A Leader

We must celebrate success and learn from our failures. It’s how we grow and continue to thrive as leaders. People get excited when they see their good works praised. They grow and thrive when they see how they can learn from their failures.

Think about the times you’ve failed. What happens? You may beat yourself up. You may tell yourself that you never do anything right. 

But does that help you with anything? Does that make things better? No, berating yourself (or others) only brings you down. 

Turning things around, things become better. Looking at your failures (or those of others) as an opportunity to learn will make you see the positive side of failure: a chance to learn.

Let’s celebrate more successes and learn from our failures. Then, our failures can become successes! 

Tips To Effectively Celebrate Success 

We have to understand the different ways to celebrate success to get the most out of it ourselves and honor those we’re celebrating. Everyone has a different way they like to have their success celebrated. Be aware of this as you move forward. Here are four common ways people like their successes to be celebrated.


Make a small show out of someone’s success. Let others know you noticed and are proud of the person who accomplished something. This could be a public message sent out through Microsoft Teams to the organization or a small pizza party. 

Public praise is welcomed by a lot of people. Then there are others who hate to be publicly recognized. Do the following for them.

Private praise:

Take your praise of their success to them personally. Let them know you saw their good work and you recognized what they were doing. Tell them you are proud of them and to keep up the great work.

They’ll be ecstatic that you understood their aversion to public praise. They’ll feel seen and understood. 

Sometimes, private praise is better!

Pay it forward:

Do you remember the pay-it-forward craze? While the idea of pay-it-forward has been around for a long time, it made a major resurgence in recent years when a car at Starbucks paid for the drinks of the vehicle behind them. Someone paid for the following vehicle for 11 hours and 457 cars. It was an act of charity, even if those getting the free drinks could afford it. 

Consider whether or not you could celebrate your success or those you lead by paying it forward. I’d recommend you do it in a different yet similar way. Instead of paying for drinks, choose to help someone learn a new skill. Give them the tools to succeed and thrive. 

Pay forward success by giving someone else a chance to succeed.

Give a reward:

There are plenty of things you can do to reward success. You could give a team member an extra day off. Maybe you hand them a gift certificate to their favorite local restaurant (mine would be The Station in Muskegon). Or you might send them on a trip.

Find meaningful rewards for success. Much like when you’re on a diet and give yourself a cheat meal as a reward, rewards can be highly satisfying!

Seeing Failures As A Growth Opportunity

But we all know that there are failures that come along with successes. There are times we fail, struggle, and gripe about our situations. What can we do to see our failures as a growth opportunity? Try these three things.

Examine why you failed:

Too many people don’t stop and take the time to examine why they failed. All they see is the failure. 

Many times, if we take a moment to examine the failure, we see the why behind it. We can learn and grow by seeing what caused it. 

Don’t rush off after you fail. Don’t sit and pout. Do examine the failure to see the root cause and avoid failure the next time.

Try something new:

You failed. Yup. We all do.

Do you stay down when you fail or do you get up, brush yourself off, and try something new? 

We’d all do better if we tried something new after a failure. Whether that new thing is a different way of accomplishing what you tried before or a brief interlude to entertain and inform you.

Trying something new will take your mind off the failure and give you a chance to grow.

Ask for help:

No one really likes to ask for help. Many people see asking as a sign of weakness. 

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Instead, asking for help is a sign of strength. You’re strong enough and brave enough to know you can’t do it alone. You need help.

Be willing to ask for help. The person who helps you can show you what you need to do differently so you wind up with better results.

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