Day#90: Admitting failure in the workplace

Day#90: Admitting failure in the workplace

The concept of this is a lot more deeper than often people would like to think, I often prided myself on being someone that was comfortable with stating when I was adequate at something or had failed at it, however there are other factors that can influence an individual’s good intentions. The inability to admit when one is wrong is not only a personal trait that can be built and perfected over time but is also linked to company policy and managerial tactics. For example someone who is scared of their demanding boss who will enforce extra working hours for a failed project will be less likely to admit that a mistake is their own. In turn an environment that doesnโ€™t have any trust in the workplace can do the same, for example a manager or team lead who is afraid of their boss and then takes it out on their team, and doesn’t have their teams back in distress will also have individuals who struggle with being open with the manager. Here an environment of distrust with senior management and lower management is a problem within the organisation, the video below displays this issue at companies in such interesting detail. Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker, author and organisational consultant, I really wish more companies would access their productivity with methods like this.

On the other hand you can also have people who have a problem with admitting failure personally, this is a serious problem in the workplace. It can breed lack of ownership of projects and mistrust in the work environment. An example would be an Agency that I am currently working with on a job, they were briefed on various aspects for a project and have now after two attempts failed to supply us with creative that is inline with our users. The problem is when trying to tackle the issue of research and understanding the users, they become defensive and challenge concepts using the abstract method of emotions claiming the justification that the project “just works”. As someone who prides myself on backing up my decisions with research and data, you can see how this can become frustrating. We have even shared multiple examples of work in line with where we see the brand going however to our dismay none of their artwork or copy matches this. The problem with this particular case study is not only lack of understanding of the user but also lack of admitting that the first two attempts were not successful and working towards providing something completely different to those previously submitted projects.

The ability to apologise then has different facets to how it is received, see this article on The mindset that makes it hard to admit you are wrong

The article basically talks about the following

โ€œAs it turned out, the participants in the study rated the acceptance of responsibility component as the most effective form of apology, followed closely by an offer to repair the damage and then third by an explanation of the mistake. A second study involving a somewhat different procedure further supported the value of accepting responsibility as the basis for an apology.โ€

All in all I think it’s something that needs working on, whether it be in your private or professional capacity. Admitting you are wrong is difficult for a lot of people, start with small things and when admitting you are wrong in the workplace and then follow up with a solution, happy researching!

Bye for now!

2 Replies to “Day#90: Admitting failure in the workplace”

    1. Yes! so glad to hear that, Simon Sinek is a very interesting speaker in leadership and team work love his content. Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

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