Admitting You’re Wrong
April 21, 2020
Claire Miles

Why is it so hard to admit you’re wrong? No matter how hard you’ll try, it’s inevitable. We all make mistakes. At the end of the day, no matter the error, whether small or big, no one likes to be mistaken. It’s an unpleasant emotional experience for all of us. The question is, how do we react to finding out we were wrong? Do we admit it? Or do we sweep it under the rug? I recently made an unfortunate mistake at work. I batted for days on how to address it. So, I gathered a few tips on how to admit our mistakes, and as I know I’m not the only one to ever face this issue, I decided to share it with you.

Getty Images/ DigitalVision/ Thomas Barwick

First, you need to take responsibility and ownership for the mistake. Whether your assistant flanked the task you assigned her, or you misunderstood what your boss meant, it doesn’t matter. Don’t try to shift the blame to something or someone else, just take responsibility. Also, you must apologize for it ASAP, as time is of the essence. No matter what happened, or how busy you are, apologize for your mistake and take ownership. As mentioned earlier, time is of the essence. So, the second thing you need to do is to address it quickly. Apologizing for your mistake as soon as possible makes the situation less likely to worsen and prevent unnecessary drama.

With that being said, don’t over apologize for your mistake. The valuable part of apologizing is acknowledging what happened, understanding why it happened, apologizing for it, and then getting back to work. If you keep coming back to the mistake, you make it a bigger deal than what it was in the first place. But maybe most importantly, you have to listen and not argue. Even if you don’t agree with what your boss tells you, sit back, take a deep breath, and listen. When you start coming up with excuses, fighting for your side of the story, not accepting your part in the situation, you can come across as petty or insincere. Learn from listening and demonstrate awareness of what you could have done differently. There is strength in admitting that we were wrong, so don’t be afraid of it.

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