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Preston Byrd

Nobody likes to fail. Failure can be embarrassing, humiliating and emotionally upsetting, so it’s no wonder we’re naturally inclined to avoid the risk. Unfortunately, the fear of failure can also be paralyzing, which is why—as a leader in my organization—I strive to give myself and others permission to make mistakes. Without it, how can we make progress?

Let me share an example from early in my career when I heard negative feedback about a person who worked for me. His clients called him indecisive and were frustrated that he wasn’t answering their questions in a timely fashion. As it turns out, he was paralyzed by the fear of making a wrong decision. I remember him telling me, “The client wants one thing, but I believe the right solution is something else. And I’m afraid that if my recommendation makes the client unhappy, you’re going to hear about it and be…

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