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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why Is It So Hard for Us to Admit Our Mistakes?

Karen Firestone
Harvard Business Review
Originally posted March 28, 2016

Advice for how to gracefully handle mistakes often emphasizes 1) taking responsibility for the error, 2) presenting a plan for the remedy, and then 3) fixing what was wrong. Although these directions sound simple, they can be extremely difficult to execute in real life. No one finds it easy to own up to a mistake — particularly a costly one.


Many people are afraid of appearing incompetent in front of our colleagues and bosses. But what we sometimes don’t realize is that it is worse to be viewed as a coward incapable of owning up to mistakes or accepting criticism. Rather than saying, “The plate dropped,” it is good practice to say, “I dropped the plate” — especially if that is exactly what happened. The best executives and investors “drop plates” all the time; without doing so, they would lack experience and a healthy understanding of risk.

The article is here.