Do We Need to Confess All Workplace Mistakes?

"If something goes wrong in the workplace, and no one is asked to own the problem, should I speak up and claim fault or should I just fix the problem and move on? What if someone else made the mistake—am I obligated to 'rat them out'?" - TGC

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Aaron Blumer's picture


Every situation is different. The article does a good job of identifying some of the factors.

It's important to choose your battles. A business is about delivering its products and services and it's always important to run choices through the grid: is this going to help us get more done or get it done better? I've seen overly self-conscious folks really slow down and/or distract the team's ability to get the work done and get it done right--by injecting all sorts of drama into a mistake that was made. They meant well.

Often it's better to either ignore it and move on or do a low key, 'I should have done this instead of that; lessons learned,' then move on. Mistakes and weaknesses are not always helped by a whole lot of attention and fuss. It's like picking at a scab. Mom used to say, "Leave it alone. It will heal. But it won't if you keep picking at it." (On the other hand, if it's infected leaving it alone won't help either. So... wisdom is required.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.