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Admit Your Mistakes To Fix Them Quickly and Effectively

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Dilbert strikes again! One episode of the popular comic strip once again resonated with AccelaWork.

Also seen on Dilbert’s official website, below is Scott Adams’ creation:

corporate productivity and Dilbert

Obviously, judging by standards of professionalism, “playing dumb” is hardly a reputable—let alone believable—scapegoat in business. And though this comic strip may seem overly far-fetched, there is a hint of truth behind it. Perhaps in not such an extreme manner as seen above, but surely there have been situations in business where a lack of acknowledgment, understanding, accountability, or honesty have jeopardized an entire company, a management team, or even a single employee.

As ironic as it sounds, discovering failure should not be embarrassing. On the contrary, acknowledging its existence is commendable. Admitting to mistakes prior to implementation not only presents the opportunity to highlight ethical traits such as diligence, humility, and forthrightness, but its simply the logical thing to do. After all, isn’t it better for everyone involved if the problem is rectified before it turns into an even bigger mess? If nothing less, it would certainly prevent the hot water that the employee is standing in from boiling over.

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© Flickr user Savannah River Site

So many people are afraid to admit they’re wrong that the simple act of doing so can carry a lot of weight when it comes to earning the respect of those around you. A blog post from Amy Anderson tells the story of an instance when this was the case.

I don’t know exactly why so many in the world carry that false belief that admitting their mistakes makes them weak, but I can tell you how I learned to recognize that the opposite was true. I was somewhere in my 20’s visiting the home of a family in California when I witnessed a heated disagreement between the father of the home and his defiant pre-teen daughter. There was no question that the lesson the father was trying to teach the daughter was a correct one, but the manner in which he handled it was not. He didn’t strike his daughter or become abusive, but his tone was hurtful and degrading.

After the incident ended, and knowing the man well, I thought to myself, “He has to know that wasn’t right because I know him to be a good man. But there is no way he would admit it because he doesn’t want to lose face as the leader of the family.” I wouldn’t say that one incident made me lose all respect for the man because I knew his character better than that and I knew of his incredible qualities, but I clearly recognized that he was in the wrong. About an hour later, I walked down the hall to hear the man talking to his daughter saying these exact words to her: “I was wrong, and I am sorry.”

I was honestly shocked. I had never before heard someone in authority admit they were wrong and apologize like that. There was no excuse made for his behavior. There was no justification of “well, I only acted like that because you did this.”  Nothing, nada, zip. He simply admitted he was wrong and he apologized. Observing his behavior, my respect for this man grew tremendously. I saw him as a great leader and a person of fortitude that I wanted to be like. Seeing his behavior that day changed my life, because I was able to recognize that the reason I now saw him as a leader of great fortitude was his willingness to honestly and humbly admit his mistake, especially to someone subordinate to him.

Allowing problems to spiral out of control in the office is more than just irresponsible. Don’t be afraid to admit something is wrong. According to productivity consultants, it can be an expensive mistake. It can also go against employee satisfaction or even affect government productivity.  Don’t allow fear of failure to create problems in your office. Instead, contact our consulting firm to learn more.

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