5 Steps Through Which Positive Leadership Deals with Disappointment

Our company recently applied for a major investment to fund a project we planned to launch in the new year.  A a lot of work went into preparing for the due diligence and presented the company numerous times to various people within the investment company.  We were doing well.  The feedback was positive and the process moved along nicely.

We finally reached the end of the decision process with the initial feedback being the investment was approved “in principle”.  Our proposal was going through to the board of directors for final approval.  We were exited; everything was in our favor.  We waited with bated breath.

Its Tough Maintaining a Positive Leadership Attitude

The phone call came.  The board did not approve the investment.  The voting were tied and the chairman made the deciding vote against the investment because he felt the risk was too high.

We were devastated.  All the planning, all the projections.  One short phone call reduced our work to seemingly worthless exercise.

What do you do in this situation?

If you take pride in your positive leadership style, how do you handle this type of disappointment?

Positive Leadership Acknowledge the Disappointment

It is no use trying to ignore the disappointment and continue as if nothing happened.  It happened.  Ignoring it or denying it will not make it go away.  The first step positive leadership take in dealing with disappointment, is to acknowledge the disappointment.  Acknowledging the disappointment puts it in the open.  It now becomes something you can talk about and analyze all the angles.

Positive Leadership Contain the Damage

Disappointment can cause damage in an organization if it is not contained.  Allowing disappointment to filter through from the leadership to the rest of the organization can be very demoralizing.  People in the organization do not necessarily have all the information and this may lead to wrong assumptions about the health and direction of the organization.  The key is to contain the damaging within the leadership group.  This is done by making sure there is a clear communication plan in place.  Positive leadership decides what, if anything needs to be communicated to the rest of the organization.  Determining the content of the communication to prevent damaging assumptions is also very important.

Positive Leadership Regroup

Now it is time to start regrouping.  The value of being part of a leadership team is having team members who encourage one another and aid in the regrouping process.  Regrouping means to muster one’s courage stepping into the leadership role again and face the next set of challenges.

Positive Leadership Evaluate the Options

Every set back brings with it certain lessons and opportunities.  By acknowledging the disappointment and the possible impact it may have on the rest of the organization, positive leadership enables you to see new opportunities and start evaluating them in terms of taking action.  Experiencing a disappointment is never the end of the road.  There are always opportunities waiting to be discovered if you can look past the initial disappointment.

Craft a New Plan

Lay out the opportunities on the table and scrutinize them thoroughly.  Positive leadership is all about picking up your head and trying again.  Now comes the time to investigate the best opportunities you identified and to craft a new plan to take advantage of them.

None of the processes discussed here will make the problem disappear.  In fact, not getting the required investment created a number of new challenges for our company, but through positive leadership we were able to continuously seek new opportunities and craft new plans to make use of the opportunities we identify.

How do you handle disappointment?

When last did you experience a major disappointment and what process did you follow to deal with it?

About Joseph Hawking

I have a passion for people & leadership development and since I discovered my mom’s old typewriter as a boy, I have written in some form or another.
I started blogging in 2017 and in August 2018, I started The Leadership Connexion with the aim to make the connection between Business, Leadership and Life. My professional experience span across various business disciplines, including Training, Project Management, Human Resource Management and Finance. I have a MBA degree and I am co-founder and director of a Project Management Company.
I am part of the Leadership for The International Mentoring Network (IMN), South African Chapter, where I am a regular Idea Studio Facilitator and Annual IMN Conference Speaker. I believe that the highest form of living is using what you are blessed with to add value to other people’s lives.