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If You Mess Up, Fess Up!

| September 14, 2010

by Jim Bruce

Today’s reading “If You Mess Up, Fess Up! comes to us from Fast Company’s Expert Blog.  It’s author is Paul Glover, who founded the Glover Group, a management consulting firm focusing on improving workplace performance, after a long career as a labor/employment law attorney.

Glover’s bottom line is very straight forward:  “Everyone makes mistakes.  It is how we deal with those mistakes that matters.  Like the ability to delegate, admitting when we’ve made a mistake is a trademark of a good leadership skill set.”

Not convinced?  Here are the first four of his five reasons:

1.  It’s just plain wrong to not fess up when you mess up.  Further, if you don’t, it damages your integrity and any sense that you are an ethical person.

2.  Everyone knows you messed up.  And, “they” will share that information along with the fact that you didn’t fess up.

3.  You are sending a message that erodes respect and trust.

4.  It’s the cover up that will eventually catch up with you.

And, his fifth reason which I don’t think applies in the university IT business:  In some areas, there is an economic value in fessing up.  For example, when medical doctors directly admit to doing harm, malpractice claims and costs drop by more than 50%.

So, as the Scottish Proverb states:  “Confession is good for the sourl”


.  .  .  .     jim