Quiz: How do you handle failure?

What’s your response to failure?

Consider the following hypothetical situations. Select Agree or Disagree in answer to each question, based on how close to your real response the scenario would be.

  1. You have a new project to start work on. The project involves elements of work that you’re less confident about. You should have started the project a week ago but feel it’s a challenge and as a result, keep postponing the deadline.
  2. Having previously failed to complete a complex task at work you now have to tackle it again. Although you haven’t had the opportunity to analyse where things went wrong, you feel super confident that with a bit of luck, you’ll get it right this time.
  3. You received detailed, slightly critical feedback from a colleague. You always find it helpful when someone finds the time to provide you with detailed feedback .
  4. You have a friendly competitive rivalry with a colleague. Over the last year, you and your colleague have performed at more or less the same level but recently you have excelled leaving your colleague trailing in your wake. Your colleague is despondent and asks for pointers to improve performance. You’re flattered but decide to maintain your competitive edge by not sharing the secret to your new found success.
  5. You’re hiring for a new role in your small start up. You have two stand-out candidates. One person has a lot in common with everyone, including similar interests and opinions, they’ll obviously fit right in. The other candidate has some great but different ideas, you hire them to provide a useful counterpoint to develop your business idea.
  6. Your colleague is fantastic at their job, you think you could learn a lot and take your skills to the next level with some coaching from them. You tell them how impressed you are with their skills and ask for help.
  7. Your team has made a huge error. There will be serious consequences when the mistake comes to light but you know the team did their best so you decide to cover things up and hope that nobody will notice.
  8. A colleague tells you that you’re doing a great job but they have some suggestions for improvement. You feel annoyed and patronised and think they should keep their opinions to themselves.
  9. You’re trialling a new business idea but it’s an uphill struggle. You realise that you’re out of your depth and at the moment you don’t have an adequate level of knowledge or resources to succeed. You take the idea back to the drawing board.
  10. You’re a new manager and have made a few rookie mistakes. Another manager tells you that leaders are born and not made and suggests this role is therefore not for you. Although you don’t feel hugely confident you remind your colleague that you are still new to the role and learning so would appreciate any specific tips they have to offer.
  11. You work in a highly competitive industry, it’s often difficult to gain a market advantage. Sometimes you have to cut corners to get ahead.