Admit When You Are Wrong

Yup, Bo$$, admit when you are wrong, especially in front of your subordinates or colleagues. It’s easier to admit it in front of the manager, even if it’s a cautious act – maybe I’ll get away with it, a mistake admitted cuts half of the negative impact. Or something like that.


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Bo$$, let’s get back to you; you didn’t think you’ll get away with it, did you? Your employees know immediately when you are wrong and they are right most of the times, omitting those who, no matter what you do, still think you are an ass-hole and that you are wrong by default.

Some mistakes are caused by the manager, others by his/her superiors, but if someone has to put them into action, then implicitly is the fault of the one who’s implementing. I will refer today to the unprovoked mistakes, those you don’t get help to make and they seem to just be a one (wo)man show.

A first stage would be to admit your mistake individually not collectively. “We have made a mistake with the implementation of the new email reading procedure from right to left.” You were wrong, not us. The political correctness thing with the “team” will have the opposite outcome if you wish to make this a team responsibility. The same happens with the impartial “a mistake was made”, lack of accountability is worse than the actual mistake.

Admitting the mistake needs to be carried off in front of those directly affected, but also to those who can help you mend it quickly.

As a manager, missing to admit your mistake or even worse, hiding it under the rug, gets you on the shortest route to losing the respect and trust of your subordinates, and this is the ugliest thing you can come upon when being in a leading position.

Admitting to be wrong doesn’t mean you become weaker in front of your staff, on the contrary.

Don’t make an appeal to the pessimist nature and tell me you are better off avoiding any risk, so you cannot make a mistake, this won’t hold.

When you are wrong, you must draw some conclusions out of it in order to find the root of the error, as mending a broken chair with duct tape won’t do.

If someone told you that you were wrong, don’t say it’s not true from the beginning, even if it’s hard not getting defensive. You can try the reasonable doubt if the “plaintiff” is trustworthy and has helped in the past. A quick “rebound” might help a lot.  The higher you are in the organizational chart, the more your mistake costs. And not only you.

“If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.” Confucius

Last, but not least, the fact that you made a mistake might also cause some repercussions, and a simple “it’s my mistake I take full responsibility ” doesn’t mean you are cleared, dumb thing you did has been deleted and you can pretend it never happened.

Good luck mistaking!

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