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Sometimes all there can be is failure

by The NonProfit Times - January 27, 2014

People love winners. That might sound counterintuitive in the nonprofit sector, but just think about the plain-looking (to put it kindly) multi-zillionaire who is surrounded by dazzling-looking (to put it mildly) women who are a third of his age.

Yes, we love winners so much that we can be blinded to the fact that people can have flaws (it comes with the job description) and still be good people, even good leaders. Insisting on perfection in a manager can be a fruitless and even mistaken position.

In his book “Simply Managing” Henry Mintzberg writes that there can be failures in any endeavor, but failure does not always translate into worthlessness. There can be legitimate reasons for failure that do not preclude a candidate from being considered for another position.

These include:

  • Person failures. Some people just shouldn’t be managers, foremost among them being the reluctant ones, those who don’t relish the pace and the pressures. Other people might like a managerial job but are not suited to it.
  • Job failures. Sometimes a person is well-suited to managing and well-balanced in approach but the job is simply not doable. It is literally unmanageable.
  • Fit failures. There are competent, balanced managers in doable jobs that are just not the right jobs for them; they are misfits here.
  • Success failures. A successful company or organization can grow to be too large, or a position can grow or change in a way that it changes or its success causes changes in an individual.

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