Why do people struggle to admit mistakes?
Instead of telling the truth and explaining what they learned, people just make up stories or excuses and expect those around them to believe them.
It’s actually comical. I guess it’s partly what people have grown up with…Watching other famous people lie.
Or, maybe their parents told them that admitting mistakes was a sign of weakness.
Whatever the case, there is no reason to shy away from the truth.
When you admit you’re wrong, a number of things happen:
- First, acknowledging where you came up short enables you to learn and grow from the mistake. Subconsciously, you’re able to think through what happened and how to improve. Rationalizing it away prevents personal growth.
- Equally important, you show others that you value trust over pretending to never be wrong. I frequently talk about mentors in my columns, blogs and podcasts. One of mine, George Hartnett, used to say “Trust Begats Trust” because you have to trust others first to earn their trust. Admitting you’re mistakes earns trust.
- Admitting mistakes also shows vulnerability in you as a leader which increases accountability. Team members see that it’s important to have each other’s back. You gain their respect.
And when one person doesn’t admit a mistake, the tendency is to want to assess blame. So, the blame game begins and nobody wins.