Struggling at work? Here’s how to rethink failure

by Amanda Kavanagh
22 January 2024 | 15 Shares

Source: Shutterstock

Embracing failure has been a big theme on social media over the last number of years.

It was the sentiment that launched a thousand home office prints, as influencers all over the world shared their humble failures on the road to success.

The positives of failure became so ubiquitous that now many people are jaded with the idea, despite its progressive message.

However, now Harvard professor Amy Edmondson has released a new book about failure, which offers frameworks to understanding it, and gives solid advice on turning it into an advantage in the workplace.

Right Kind of Wrong: the Science of Failing Well continues where Edmondson’s previous book, The Fearless Organization, left off, with a focus on psychological safety.

Psychological safety means fostering a no-blame culture, where individuals and teams are

encouraged to think outside the norm and do things differently, to innovate, fail, learn and try again.


Source: Shutterstock

This is highly relevant to tech companies who need to constantly innovate to survive and thrive, and who need to create and maintain a sense of intellectual safety to retain talent.

Considering $600 billion is lost on employee turnover a year, focusing on this makes sense for employers, and the effects of low psychological safety is visible in every single Glassdoor review.

Those working within an organization with high psychological safety report 76% more engagement, 50% productivity, 74% less stress, and 29% more life satisfaction.

How to banish blame

Shifting from a blame culture to a praise culture isn’t the work of one person. It needs to be tackled at leadership level.

Companies that name and shame staff block performance; Edmundson discovered that high-functioning teams actually report more mistakes, accept them and move on, growing and innovating from the lessons learned as a team.

If you feel you can’t disagree or challenge management without retribution, even when done respectfully, and you don’t feel safe to speak up or own up to mistakes, then you could be in a low psychologically safe environment.

And if this is causing unhappiness at your workplace, it could be time to move on. Visit the Tech HQ Job Board and see what’s on offer today, like these three.

Senior Software Engineer, Oracle, United States

Oracle is hiring a Senior Software Engineer for Open Platform Engineering, where you will join a platform team esponsible for advancing the open API products based on industry definitions by HL7 (Health Level 7 International). You will have strong technical skills with experience in cloud-based web services, the desire to work in a highly collaborative environment that stretches across three development regions globally, and will handle the responsibilities of the full SDLC with designing, developing, testing, and reviewing code. A BS or MS in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, computer information systems, information systems, IT or a related field, or equivalent work experience is required. Apply here.

IT Responsible AI Manager, Nestlé IT, Arlington

AI ethics is a hot topic right now, and as regulations continuously evolve large organizations are safeguarding their future by hiring into risk management and compliance roles. Enter this IT Responsible AI Manager role at Nestlé Information Technology, the digital arm of the food business that has over 2,000 brands, and over a quarter of a million team members. The successful candidate will identify opportunities to enhance AI integration to enhance IT capabilities and drive innovation, while coordinating programs and partnerships between the Office of Responsible AI, internal Microsoft teams and external partners. Find out more about this senior role here.

Cloud Engineer, Fanatics, Boulder

Here’s one to suit a sports fan, why not turn your passion into a career advantage by working at Fanatics? The organization produces a number of innovative products across e-commerce, collectibles and gaming, so that fans can buy licensed fan gear, jerseys, digital trading cards, memorabilia, and lifestyle and streetwear products. The successful candidate for this Cloud Engineer role will design, develop and maintain tools and services, and reusable modules and frameworks to automate provisioning of cloud infrastructure. Experience with Kubernetes, Gotty, Docker, and JavaScript are all required, as is a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or similar field. Find out more.

Visit the Tech HQ Job Board today to see a whole host of job opportunities, refreshed continuously