The Power of Owning Up to Mistakes in the Workplace


Everyone makes mistakes in their personal lives and in the workplace. While American workplace culture largely looks down upon mistakes, these missteps are actually an important part of the learning process. Too often, employees try to hide their mistakes rather than owning up to them and admitting fault, which is the first step in preventing that mistake from occurring again.

People who hide a mistake put their jobs on the line if their superiors discover the deception. On the other hand, if employees admit their errors, they demonstrate responsibility and ultimately earn the trust of those around them. Managers understand that mistakes are unavoidable. Dishonesty, however, is not. Also, failing to own up to a mistake can lead to further repercussions. Admitting fault as soon as something happens helps the company contain the error and prevent it from affecting other areas of business.

Employers value people with integrity. Pointing fingers and playing the blame game shows a lack of integrity as well as a dearth of communication skills. When employees take responsibility for a mistake and create a game plan to correct it, they demonstrate the type of initiative and leadership that is most prized by high-level managers. Ultimately, the ways in which an employee deals with a mistake can strongly influence a manager’s opinion of him or her.

Clients and customers also appreciate when people admit fault. By owning up to the mistake, employees make themselves relatable and can even forge stronger relationships with clients. People should suggest a solution and negotiate to make sure that the solution works for everyone. Most importantly, employees should always follow up after carrying through with the plan to make sure that all involved parties are pleased with the outcome.


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