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Just say "my bad' already.

As my mind wandered on the bus back to NYC today, I thought about apologies and how reluctant people are to make them, especially at work.

A few weeks ago I'd gotten a little annoyed coming out of a meeting, simply because I'd seen a familiar type of behavior just go down. It was meeting similar to others I'm sure happen everyday in most companies. Something had gone wrong; someone had caught it; the team discussed it; discussed alternatives/repercussions and a fix, and then moved on.

Sounds normal enough. So what bugged me? The folks who made the decision that necessitated this entire conversation took responsibility and ownership of the fix, and portrayed extreme competence in doing so. However, at no time did they acknowledge the mistake, let alone apologize for it.

This has always bugged me. I think part of being a professional or a leader or for that matter just a functioning human being is being able to recognize not just that you made a mistake but acknowledging to others that were affected by it that you're taking responsibility for it.

Its understandable that people are reluctant to do this, perhaps hoping that people won't realize they made a mistake, or rather have people focus on what a great job they're doing with the fix, or its just workplace culture.... whatever it is: its wrong.

You need to have enough wins (or the confidence that you'll eventually get them) to not worry about making mistakes, and just as importantly acknowledging when you make them.


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