How Do You Admit That You Were Wrong?

February 3, 2015

Sorry....at the officeOne of the qualities of a great leader is knowing when you are wrong. When it comes to either personal or professional relationships at the office, managers need to be able to admit to and own up to their mistakes.

Although this can be hard to do, and often embarrassing, not fessing up can be detrimental to the relationship between a boss and the employees. When staff realise that the manager has too much pride to admit that he or she was wrong, respect for that person will plummet.

On the other hand, workers will place more trust in a supervisor that is comfortable and confident enough to admit to a wrongdoing. Below is a three-step guide on how to cough up to mistakes at the office.

Be Open Minded – Many supervisors are so closed minded that they will not consider the possibility that they can be wrong about anything. Whether it is giving employees an incorrect due date for a project, or simply missing an important email, they will not skip a beat when convincing others that the error could not be on their side. A responsible manager, however, should check the facts before claiming that he or she is right and another party is wrong. It is important to be open minded enough to know that anyone can make an error, even a manager.

Be Honest – Everyone makes mistakes; the mistake turns into a bigger issue not when it is made, but when it is not acknowledged when the facts are clearly there to bring the error into the open. A strong and confident supervisor should have no qualms about being honest and admitting a mistake was made. As mentioned before, employees will only respect the manager more knowing that their boss is one who will be forthcoming enough to be open with them.

Correct the Mistake – Realising that you made a mistake and being honest with your department about it is a great first step, but it also requires correcting the error, if possible. If you hurt a staff member’s feelings by being rude or insensitive, for example, make sure to apologise to that party. Or, if you simply insisted on information that turned out to be incorrect, making your staff work overtime to make it right, offer them a half day off to account for the extra hours worked previously.

Remember that making the mistake is not as embarrassing as your employees knowing that you will not own up to your errors and correct them. Be open and honest with your team when you have not been correct, and, chances are, that will lead the employees to respect and like you even more.

Many thanks

Gavin Muge

Senior Trainer & Consultant

Mark Williams 3