Admit your mistakes and gain respect


I have often wondered why some individuals tend to get on the defensive. Some often do not admit their mistakes as well. It almost seems that they are always in the right and others are wrong. This often happened in the workplace and sometimes in the classroom.

When I explore this issue on a deeper level, it seems that defensive individuals often do not socialise well with their friends or get along well with their colleagues. On the other hand, I realise that individuals who readily admit their mistakes when they commit an error not only gain the respect of the other party but they are often regarded as someone is trustworthy and of high integrity.

In areas of presentation, I have read in a book which states that presenters should not apologise if they made a mistake in their presentation. In fact, they should carry on as if nothing has happened as more often than not, the audience will not notice. I beg to differ because trust me, your audience will definitely notice. It is bad that a typing error on the presentation slide is not being pointed out and rectified, and it will be worse if the mistake is a statistical error (Think of a presenter informing you that “The partnership will enable you to gain a revenue of $6m dollars a year” when it should have been $3m).  Apologise, admit your mistakes and your audience will love you for it.

This can also be applied in the classroom. When students point out a mistake made by their teacher, the latter should readily admit it. Denying it will only cause the students to question the integrity of their teacher. Over time, the teacher’s credibility diminished too.  Apologising to the class about the mistake does not make a teacher look bad (as some educationists feel). Rather, it makes the teacher look more human and approachable (“Everybody makes mistakes”). It also gives the students an impression that their teacher acknowledges the existence of mistakes and may be more attuned to forgive. Because of this, there’s a higher possibility of students daring to make and learn from their mistakes as well as approaching their teacher for assistance. A teacher who is correct all the time and who seem superhuman is often perceived as a hard individual to turn to for help.

So, when we make a mistake in the classroom or the workplace, it’s always good to say “Sorry, I make a mistake.” Try it and see the difference it will make in your life as an educationist or as a working professional.


3 thoughts on “Admit your mistakes and gain respect

  1. I think we all need to be reminded of this truth, Patrick. Refusing to admit our mistakes makes us look much more foolish and vulnerable than openly acknowledging them. People, including teachers, who are not intimidated by their errors appear much more confident than those who are.


  2. I always use math mistakes in front of my third graders as a learning experience for them. When I make a mistake on the board, it’s generally because I’m very distracted trying to pay attention to several behavior issues in the class behind me, while also writing on the board. I show them, “You see, if this can happen to me, it can happen to you while you are doing your math homework, as well.” I explain that it’s easy to get interrupted by the telephone, or someone walking through the room, or the television. It makes a good case for showing one’s work. It also shows them that adults are not infallible, and that we all need to re-check (or proofread) work, and we all need to pay attention to details.

    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas


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