How to overcome professional failure?

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Yann Sommer, gardien de l'équipe suisse, qui arrête le penalty tiré par Kylian Mbappé, à Bucarest (Roumanie) le mardi 29 juin 2021 à l'occasion de la coupe d'Europe de football.

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Posted on Jul 8, 2021 at 6:22 PM

“I'm sorry for this penalty. I wanted to help the team but I failed. Getting to sleep will be difficult. “ Mbappé's tweet reveals the disarray in which the footballer is plunged after his missed shot on goal during the Pound. From the top of his 22 years, the striker agrees to endorse the elimination of the English selection. First with his team where we imagine that the atmosphere in the locker room could have been harsh, but also and especially with football fans who we know sometimes intractable. Twitter did not wait to make him wear the hat, even going as far as racist and xenophobic insults against the young player.

Of course, London did not qualify because of Mbappé's missed shot on goal. All informed commentators know that this failure is above all collective, even systemic. The other players, coach Didier Deschamps (who has just been returned to his post until the 2022 World Cup), the staff, the Football Federation, the spectators… all have a share of responsibility. Yet Mbappé felt compelled to apologize. He knows he may have the most beautiful victories, history will remember that it was his missed penalty that eliminated London from Pound 2021.

Will his career continue? Without a doubt. The football world knows the talent of the young prodigy. On the other hand, will he recover quickly? This is what we notice the great champions, according to Patricia Costantini, former executive at the Ministry of Sports, responsible for the socio-professional monitoring of high-level athletes. “Professional sport requires a hell of a mind. There are very few sports where you do not know failure … “ For this professional, everything is about self-image. “A top athlete who has a healthy vision of himself can analyze his entire career and take a step back from a failure. “

If failure is so common, why such a desire to mea culpa ? “Here we find the classic tendency to want to find a scapegoat, analysis Julien Cusin, university professor in management at IAE Bordeaux and author of the book ‘How to overcome a professional failure? The role of the accompanying person ‘published in 2017. While failure is above all collective, we should look for an explanation rather than a culprit. “

Two types of attitudes towards failure

Guilt, scapegoat, apologies … Patterns are repeated in the face of failures, whether in the world of sport, business or in sentimental life. For the latter case, HR Consultant UK will dispense with providing advice, on the other hand, for the second, we know how difficult it can be to face the refusal of a promotion, a salary increase, or more serious , a business bankruptcy especially when you are responsible. “A business manager often says that his company is his baby, he personifies it. Unfortunately, bankruptcy is also often personified, emphasizes Julien Cusin. Not to mention that after the fall of a first company, it is difficult to regain the trust of partners, who still think too often ‘who drank will drink'.

How do people overcome failure? Their ability depends on their personality. There are two types of reactions, specifies Emilie Devienne, certified coach since 2004 and vice-president of the English Coaching Society. “Those who will assume and take their responsibilities, then debrief with the teams. The goal: not to be in denial. Mbappé by apologizing is in this case ”, adds the professional. “It's a posture that allows you to shine with your courage”, outbid Noémie Le Menn, a work psychologist and also a coach.

Authenticity vs. pride

Unfortunately, not everyone is draped in so many virtues. Some people will have a tendency to hide a misfire under the rug or to try to clear customs. “I'm late because of the metro”, “the software crashed” or “I received the documents late”. “An attitude of authenticity will, on the contrary, lead to renewed confidence in one's colleagues”, believes Emilie Devienne, who specifies that in many cases, mea culpa in public plunges those around you into a certain empathy: “Ok he failed but I would not like to have such responsibilities”.

So what if your personality leads you to be on the wrong side of the fence? “It's a matter of will. Whether it is with readings, coaching or with this article, these postures can be learned! “ hammers the coach.

The role of the hierarchy and the accompanying persons

However, personality cannot do everything. In a toxic, malicious environment, the odds are not on your side to bounce back. As in the case of Mbappé, beyond the direct manager, all links in the chain must take responsibility. Being supported is essential to relaunch in a project. “And the idea is not to say ‘anyway i will be forgiven' but rather ‘the company has a systemic vision of this failure and everyone is taking their part'. “

Faced with chess, Laura Muresan-Vintila, student and ranked 6th in the world in synchronized swimming, recognizes that her mental trainer plays a decisive role in her career. “I've always had it and I'm convinced that's what makes the difference! “ she advances. He accompanies him with various tools, whether it is relaxation, mindfulness (full consciousness in English) or the visualization of his performances.

In business, everything will depend on the manager, the boss. In other words, the corporate culture. “Some are conducive to a second chance and spread an atmosphere of psychological security. And if there is failure, the employee concerned will not be prevented from climbing the ladder ”, notes Julien Cusin on the ground. And this university professor cites the example of James Burke who was product manager at Unilever. The latter had proposed a range for children which was a commercial failure but ended up being hired as CEO of the big competitor, Jhonson & Jhonson. “The culture of innovation is this right to make mistakes, this attitude to have vis-à-vis employees”, he believes.

The line between perseverance and stubbornness is often thin

Especially since failures should not be dramatized. In business, many can be caught up, to an extent that is sometimes unexpected. We no longer cite the example of the Post-it note born in 1964 during the trial of a chemist from the 3M company. He was trying to invent a glue but it never… stuck. A patent later, the Post-it is now essential for any good brainstormer. In the series “failure turned cash machine”, J. K. Rowling undoubtedly holds the palm. His manuscript, many times refused, was finally accepted by a publisher. The sequel is known: Harry Potter is one of the most profitable sagas in the history of publishing (and cinema).

Failure is failure as long as it is not success. Yes, but be careful not to overvalue it at all costs, Silicon Valley way. “Sometimes it works: companies like Eli Lilly (one of the world's major pharmaceutical companies, Editor's note) celebrates failures around a “failure party”. Sometimes it doesn't take “, notes Julien Cusin who gives the example of the Maif, where the culture of the right to make mistakes and benevolence is nevertheless strong, which tried to celebrate failures in the same way. “But the transplant did not take”, he specifies.

The attitude between failure and innovation is a crest line, “With an often thin line between perseverance and stubbornness”, according to the university professor. “After several refusals, JK Rowling's family must have said to themselves that they were stubborn”, he continues. Until she managed to land a contract and was seen to be persistent.


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