Let's Be Honest Here
Writing in the New York Times, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman recently admitted that he is sometimes wrong. “If you write about current affairs and you’re never wrong, you just aren’t sticking your neck out enough. Stuff happens, and sometimes it’s not the stuff you thought would happen,” he said.
Needless to say, if Nobel Prize-winners can be wrong, so can any mere mortal. But as Krugman also noted, people are reluctant to admit mistakes in a climate where critics jump on them and say, “In 1996 you said A, and now in 2014 you say B. Gotcha!”
We agree! If someone admits they have been mistaken, let’s be gracious and avoid gloating. Rather than accusing the person of “flip-flopping,” we suggest a more productive re-frame: Acknowledge that admitting a mistake does not show weakness, but rather a strength of character and a willingness to learn.
Tell us your thoughts! How do you react when someone admits a mistake? And how have people reacted to you when you have done the same? Share your responses to the weekly discussion question on our Community of Practice Forum
1/14/2014 01:50:54 am
I agree with this comment. Also, what I tell my staff, its okay to make a mistake as long as learn from the mistake. I would rather have a decision made, using criteria, resulting in a mistake than no decision at all.
1/14/2014 06:47:24 am
Wondering Michelle: What has it taken to convince your staff that making decisions and learning from mistakes will be supported?
1/14/2014 02:59:03 am
One of my jobs as a leader and mentor is to make the workplace safe for learning, stretching and growing and this includes asking questions (repeatedly, if necessary until you get it) and making mistakes. Fortunately we are not in the business where a mistake can cost lives, and freely admitting and taking ownership of a mistake builds relationships. I find fewer people willing to do this however, as society becomes more litigious and less about taking personal responsibility.
1/14/2014 06:45:26 am
Ah, Fabienne, would love to think of that kind of communication accountability as a "Glaser thing" -- and being in your head is a good place to be:)
Mistakes? We all make them at times, and I believe that learning from them and moving forward is the best way to deal with them.
1/14/2014 06:49:42 am
I resonate with your comment that mistakes can lead to great problem solving if that is our intention. Would be great if that were more universal.
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