Why is it so difficult to admit when we’re wrong? I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who finds it hard to do. It is really simple, just not easy!
No matter how good we are as a leader, whether at work or at home in our marriage and family, we all make mistakes. There are many reasons why we may not want to admit to them, but most are likely rooted in pride, fear, or insecurity. We may be perceived as not knowing everything we think we should know. We may be concerned that if we admit to our mistake, those who we report to or who report to us will no longer trust us or they may have less confidence in our abilities. We may be perceived as being weak if we admit to our mistakes and ask for forgiveness. What are your reasons? Make a list.
While there could be some truth in any of these possible reasons for not admitting when we’re wrong, in the end, it actually may weaken our position as a leader. Sometimes, those around us already know that we were wrong, particularly if we did something to directly offend or impact them. What message are we sending to others about what’s acceptable? Other times, our error may be found out at a later time and we then have to explain why we kept it hidden. In all cases, when we know that we did something wrong and didn’t admit to it, there is an undercurrent in our subconscious mind that may impact our thoughts, decision making, or interactions with others, and may ultimately dampen our level of influence as a leader.
So, what’s the answer?
When you make a mistake, do something wrong, or offend someone, own up to it!
- Admit that you were wrong. (“I was wrong.”)
- Acknowledge how that impacted others. (“I am sorry that what I did hurt you.”)
- Ask for their forgiveness. (“Will you forgive me?”)
Wait for their response, understanding that they may not be ready to forgive you at the time…and that’s okay. The point is for you to sincerely ask for forgiveness, whether or not it is given.
- Commit to not doing it again and give others permission to bring it to your attention (without retaliation) if you do.
It takes humility and courage to admit when you are wrong. That’s the hard part, but once you overcome your hesitation (resistance), you’ll find that people will respect you for doing it. Your influence will increase as a leader. It’s not easy, but the more you do it, the simpler it will get.
So, what “mistake” do you need to admit to today? Who do you need to ask to forgive you? Take action now! You’ll be glad you did.