“Let us all fail a little bit”

“Let us all fail a little bit”

Psychiatrist and psychotherapist at KU Leuven Dirk De Wachter believes that sadness and failure are essential to give purpose to our economy. “Failure gives us new ideas. Therefore, it are interesting moments that everyone, also politicians and leaders, should allow. Only focussing on short term success, means the deconstruction of our culture”, says the ‘sorrow doctor’.

Everyone wants to be successful, but we cannot be successful the entire time. That is what Dirk De Wachter claimed during the last workshop at LEADERSMEETING@PARIS 2018. De Wachter states we have to be critical for the success society, that is preached widely on social media and does not allow failure. Daring to be unhappy should be teached when raising children, according to the psychiatrist. “Let us all fail a little bit”, he says.

Although De Wachter believes that allowing sadness in our culture should raise bottom up, he also states that leaders and politicians can help to make this happen. How? By allowing it as well and have an open mind on failure and sadness. De Wachter gave the the leaders four ideas to keep in mind if they really want to create purpose for their organization.

First of all the ‘sorrow doctor’ states that leaders should facilitate connection and make sure they don’t stand in the way of connection. As an example, he says he has plead for coffee breaks among therapist, as this could allow therapist to talk to each other about the troubles their patients and they themselves are facing.

Second, De Wachter believes leaders should have an eye for ‘attachment’ or nurturing. “Mankind develops constantly, they need to be nurtured all the time.”, says De Wachter. Leaders should keep this in mind when thinking about long term visions for their company. De Wachter remarks that this does not mean that you have to spoil your employees, but see your employees as humans so you can help them to stay on the right path, even when they fail.

Third, the psychiatrist states leaders should ‘speak’. “Make sure you really get to know your people by talking with them in person about personal stuff. Not only standard information that is send through e-mail and short text messages. We have to make shore that screens don’t  become shields”, De Wachter explains.

Finally, De Wachter asks leaders also to be silent so they can listen to their people. He states that is not a good habit that people are immediately send to a doctor when they feel sad. Sad people don’t necessarily need a doctor, but should be able to talk with their people out of their personal environment, which also means their leaders

Our economy is changing to the ‘purpose economy’ with a reason. People need meaning and purpose in their lives and thus also in their jobs. But this purpose can also be found in sadness and failure. He explains this clearly:

“It is in sadness and failure that we find meaningful connection. If mankind did not know sorrow and failure, mankind would not know love either.”

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