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Making Mistakes at Work

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  • Indelible_Mark
    commented on 's reply
    I've seen the same behaviors jcoppi29 and sadly these are not entirely bad people..they probably just don't see themselves in less than the good light.

    That is a good read too mjmnl though I still wonder what 'protecting yourself' would entail...

  • Skye
    commented on 's reply
    You got me there. These days, I am really just trying to break the monotony. It's like I am in a rut. But really, just trying to get out of this choke hold that these restrictions have on me right now.

    And true, sometimes those who warned were just warned as well by their mentors or colleagues. Hmmmmm... so what boundaries should I test today?

  • jcoppi29
    commented on 's reply
    The only other thing I'd probably add in that list is the weight of self-awareness. In my experience mediating between conflicts that get very polarized and divisive (glad I quit that field), the guiltier ones years later (when the dust has settled) are more often the ones that aggressively deny any misdeed in the situation, wash their hands and go virtue signaling and all and/or more aggressively points fingers and turns tables instead.

    So there's this weird, rather underrated pattern of table-turning. Most times, I side with whoever admits a fault than those getting rabid just turning the tables because of that pattern. In the first place, I don't see why anyone has to tell everyone that they didn't do anything wrong if they actually didn't do anything wrong.

  • jcoppi29
    commented on 's reply

    actually, I'd agree. Sometimes, even if we know that a lot of people warn us about a possible potential mistake, there's a different sense of wonder and excitement in learning from an experience first hand. It's like the thrill of experimentation, after all, if the people that probably warned us about something didn't learn it from hard experience either, there's no sure hit validity to back their warnings up.

    Occassional experiences of the hard-way learning path is fun. I guess, it's much better to just have that balance of chaos and order. Enough order to have structure and enough chaos to avoid the monotonic, in the box feeling.

  • Skye
    commented on 's reply
    Lemme clarify.

    Rewards and punishment. In the way we reward good action, we should punish bad ones. Goal of both is to achieve a certain behavior.

    Yes to corrective action. There should be a disciplinary component- a progressive disciplinary process. That is what I meant by bite to the law. Because it is needed to make everyone follow a process, protocol or policy. Especially for those who make the same mistakes over and over again.

  • Skye
    commented on 's reply
    @jcoppi, reading some of your posts here in this forum. And thank you for clarifying that statement on hard way of learning. I just was not sure if I was interpreting it right.

    The hard way of learning, followed by I-told-you-so. Been there. Done that. Both the learning and the told you so's. As a receiver and as a giver.

    I know this is off tangent, but sometimes, I get into trouble just because I really want to know. I want to experience things firsthand. Normally I am just happy sitting quietly inside my big box of what I should do and what I shouldn't. Then the mood strikes me (quite often of late), to test boundaries. See where this would go if I did this, if I did that. Test boundaries, not go beyond them. But still, my actions are oftentimes construed as mistakes, not innovation.

    Yet, I am happy. Because I have satisfied my curiosity. Even if I do get those I told you so's. Even if I get reprimanded.

  • Lou
    commented on 's reply
    I totally agree with you, kdy. A true leader does not pass the blame to his/her subordinates and takes accountability for the shortcomings of his/her team members.
    True enough, we don't need a boss, we need a leader. 😊😊😊

  • kdy
    commented on 's reply
    I very much agree to this.

    I used to handle a team, and I make sure that each of my direct reports understand how important it is that they are able to point out to me if I made a mistake, if I stepped on anyone's toes or what not; The same way I would to them if they made a mistake. It's a hard pill to swallow, but I would rather that it is my team who tells me I made a mistake, and be able to correct it. Not because I am matured, professional or what not, but who would I want to tell it to my face?

    As a leader though, I take accountability for my team's mistakes when reprimanded or asked by our superiors or upper management. At the end of the day, my team's behavior, performance or actions, are my responsibility as well. It is my job to coach them individually, ensure that they are taking proper actions when handling and dealing with the daily tasks and set them up for success.

    So yes, I'd say it again. I completely agree... It is entirely different in scale when the leader of the team does not know how to admit mistakes, and worse points fingers to subordinates.

  • Indelible_Mark
    commented on 's reply
    Skye sounds confused..I can't seem to connect 'there should be bite to the law' and the 'need to balance it (the positive reinforcement) with the negative'. Which one should it be? a nip versus a nibble, versus a huge rip?

    While I can consider the view that attitude leads to errors in judgement, depending on the task, a mistake is no longer a 'mistake' if it 'happens again and again'. This is why there is the practice of the widely-accepted 'due process'.

    Let's also always consider that detection and admission are separate events -the former is process-related while the latter is attitude related. Because these are separate there is a need for rules..rules that are dispassionate, impersonal, even downright cruel like 'zero tolerance' policies.

    So yeah..why not..impose corrective actions to ease our collective feelings of being right (perhaps pretend that we are collectively omniscient too!)..but keep in mind that for corrective action to be effective it should always, always, -never sometimes..nope- always 'build' the person behind the action/s deemed to be 'mistakes'. Call it positive reinforcement or what not.. a mistake once committed, twice repeated, thrice perhaps..was never made right by another wrong.

    yep..pretty serious ain't it.
    Last edited by Indelible_Mark; 08-20-2020, 01:04 PM.

  • jcoppi29
    commented on 's reply

    What I mean with the "hard-way of learning" is when a mistake is done directly as a result of not listening to someone who has experienced it. It's the epitome of "experience is the best teacher" because a lot of people generally don't listen or takes lots of unwrapping before being open to the idea.

    So, if they don't want to listen nor are they open to that, I let the flow of things deal with them by allowing them to make mistakes until they have to own up to its consequences. If they still don't learn from that hard lesson, I don't know how else to proceed but to give up on them.

    Colleagues with innate stubbornness generally either have too much parental-nourished entitlement, you know, being told "you're special, you're smart, you're going to be someone big someday" or its polar opposite, wherein they grew up being rejected, then they will avenge their younger selves by going totally self-based in everything, rejecting every external influence or persuasion. At that point, if I have enough energy left in me, I can apply the position of a counsellor and get to those developmental issues first. If it isn't my place to do so, I let them be and acknowledge that their issues aren't mine to bear and that they're adults -- they should know how to deal with their internally unprocessed psychological chains.

  • Bjun
    commented on 's reply
    Skye I guess it would mean a lot of discussion before imposing these policies, especially on small companies that do not have policies like this in place yet. When I was working in corporate, these policies were already in place and we were made aware of them during the training period.

    The challenge for smaller companies is that the employees may be closer to each other compared to big companies. They may see and treat each other more like friends than colleagues, which means that some mistakes may be overlooked. Imposing policies like these may also be difficult if there is no designated person to monitor ones progress. In a smaller company, you just do your job and you only notice mistakes done by others when it directly affects your work.

  • JerryYan
    commented on 's reply
    Bosses are no different from subordinates whether they admit their mistakes or not. The impact of their denials however is entirely different in scale..when bosses do not admit their mistakes the business takes a turn for the worse bringing with it misery for all its stakeholders..starting with crumbling trust.

    We all know what happens when trust is broken...

  • mjmnl
    This article ( could help if you are interacting with people who continue to blame others for their mistake.

    To summarize, these are the points:
    1. Listen to the blamer's side and try to confirm
    2. Be vigilant for people who talk negatively about others
    3. Don't engage with their negative comments
    4. Protect yourself

    kdy is right, it's always better to cover your bases and protect yourself from these people. Try to be as detailed and organized so that you'll be able to present proof whenever the needs arise.

    Leave a comment:

  • Indelible_Mark
    commented on 's reply
    Committing mistakes is as common as wanting to be correct all the time. I think its this innate (and insane!) idea to 'want to be correct all the time' that drives the denial around not owning up to ones mistakes.

    Sad too for people who cannot admit that they make mistakes even in the glaring light of failure.

  • Skye
    commented on 's reply
    Yes, work expectations should be set. But mistakes should be corrected, not necessarily punished. Do not get me wrong, JerryYan. I am all for disciplining people.

    If the person who makes mistakes just keeps doing the same mistakes over and over again, there is something wrong. Wrong with the person. Wrong with the system.

    If they are simple mistakes on processes, you can chuck it to carelessness or current stress levels. Still not an excuse though. But if this keeps happening over and over again, probably there is something with that person's attitude towards work.

    If the mistakes affect the work of the people around him/her, then the person committing the mistake should be made aware of it and mistakes should be corrected. However, if that person does not see that he/she is doing something wrong, well, I'll leave you to think about that.

    I say there is something wrong with the system, because such repeated behavior/mistake only continues if there is no corrective action. The company may have a policy on how to do things, but if there is no disciplinary action for correcting errors, then how can corrections be enforced? There should be a bite to the law. It cannot always be positive reinforcement. You need to balance it with the negative.
    Last edited by Skye; 08-13-2020, 11:29 PM.