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Owning Mistakes with Emily Barr

Emily Barr is the CEO of Graham Media Group. To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BEST


EMILY: One of the things that I have learned is that when you screw up on the job you do something wrong, the best thing you can do is go right in to your boss or call them or whatever and just say, hey, I really screwed up. Cause they can't get mad at you.

ZAK: If you own it.

EMILY: If you own it. So what happens is they say to you, well, ok, why don't you tell me what you did and then I'll let you know if you really screwed up. And then you say, well, you know I, I thought I was supposed to call this person and do this and I didn't do it and I forgot or whatever and now they're mad at me, whatever the story is. They usually come back and say, ok, that wasn't good but I gotta tell you. That's nothing, let me tell you about the time I screwed up. hahaha. They basically, they take on the responsibly and they totally absolve you. You know you can't do it over and over again, obviously. But it is a really good way to diffuse what could be a bad situation. Because I think what human nature does is, usually you you try to cover up the thing you did wrong. You think about when you're a little kid. When you have little kids and they have chocolate all over their face and you say to them, did you just eat a bunch of chocolate? And they lie, they're like, no, I didn't eat it. And of course when you're a little kid it's just funny but when an adult does that. Basically, did you ever call that person? And they go yeah, yeah, I called and left message and it flat out never happened and they know you're lying. And there's no trust there. There's no bond. But if you just fess up and say, you know, I messed up. I forgot to make the call. I should have done it. I feel horrible. And especially if you can go to them before they come to you. You know, so you kind of circumvent the problem that way. And usually they have a lot more faith in you after that.

ZAK: Usually the boss has more faith in the employee who speaks up?

EMILY: Yeah. Yeah.

ZAK: So, you're a boss. In fact you're my boss's boss which makes you my boss. How common is it for your employees to come and own their mistakes?

EMILY: Not as common as you might think. I suspect most people think they're going to get into trouble. And the irony is they’re going to get into less trouble if they just own the mistake. Typically. I mean if it’s a really terrible mistake maybe not. But most mistakes aren’t fatal.

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