Failing as a leader is more important than succeeding as one

Being able to account for one’s failures as a team or team leader is just as important or even more relevant than accounting for success. It seems that in many cases we see or hear about studios that have made a successful title. Other studios may then wish to emulate that success without researching the failures involved. Without failure we cannot learn, without learning we cannot grow and without growing we simply won’t be able to complete anything at the level we may have initially envisioned.

The bruise to one’s ego on failure should never hinder or take precedence over that of the team or the project Click To Tweet

This is something that should be part of any team or team leader; the removal of ones ego and the understanding that failure is guaranteed in order to reach success. Not only does it mean being accountable for the actions of yourself or the team but also the ability to remain transparent with your audience and community as both failures and successes occur

This is something that should be part of any team or team leader; the removal of ones ego and the understanding that failure is guaranteed in order to reach success. Click To Tweet

Despite promises we sometimes make as developers we will fail at times. I mentioned this on Episode 12 of the Frost Front Games Podcast. No one wants to make a bad game, we all may think something sounds good on paper until we actually test it in game to find out otherwise. It is not a one shot, bulls-eye kind of process. We will miss, a lot. The biggest difference between what you hear on successful games and what we hear on failed games regarding publicity is how the story was told.

Succeeding on a title means hard decisions will have to be made at times. People may leave, arguments on the project direction will be in question, deadlines will fail to be met, finances will be in peril. These can also be the exact things that lead to a failed title. However being able to stand accountable for the failures, knowing why they happened and moving forward to the next goal is more important than the opinion that someone has of you because of a failure.

Seeking understanding for a failure is important, trying to make it look like “it isn’t my fault” or “I feel embarrassed so let me justify my actions to make it seem I did the right thing” is pointless and a waste of energy. That same effort could be spent figuring out what the problem is, finding how to fix it and then fixing it. It is quite understandable the heat that accompanies a failure. It is quite worse when it is public knowledge than internal. Holding to ego that accompanies justifying a failure as previously mentioned instead of acknowledging one seems to be something I see in many young developers stepping into the games.

Expectation is important as both a developer on a team and a consumer of the product. Click To Tweet

Sometimes we just cannot own up to the fact that we must step forward, admit a failure and try to explain what lead to that failure. It’s the same as success; try to explain why you believe the team succeeded at something. Success does seem easier to do. The bruise to one’s ego on failure should never hinder or take precedence over that of the team or the project. Both the team and the project are a promise you as a leader have made to your team and failing on that promise means accountability not denial. If you as a leader are unable to do that for your team then maybe you should rethink your role on that project. You set the example and help set the culture. If this is the kind of culture you want to build, where accountability cannot be deflected, then be sure to mention that up front.

Both the team and the project are a promise you as a leader have made to your team and failing on that promise means accountability not denial Click To Tweet

Expectation is important as both a developer on a team and a consumer of the product. If this is the culture that you want to foster regarding your project then make sure those invested in it are on board and support that. The hypocrisy of trying to be a leader on a project while fostering moral values only to turn around when something goes hideously wrong and blame another party for something under your responsibility is a waste of one’s energy. We all fail, we all fail multiple times, way more times than we succeed. But when we persevere until we achieve success it gives the best feeling yourself and the team will ever feel. I guarantee it.

Twitter: @_shivadee

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