Even those people that believe are perfect, fail. We all do wrong – only that to some people, accepting wrongdoing is wrong.
Not accepting one’s wrongs equates to not learning from our actions. At the effectiveness lab, we call such people professional-dwarfs. Those of you with access to the youth, especially the Z-generation, please teach them the art of accepting wrong and the competences required to correct and learn from mistakes.
In our opinion, in this age of AI (artificial intelligence) and rapid automation, having the modesty to acknowledge our wrongs, is amongst the top competencies for the next generation professional. It’s a fundamental soft-skill that we should instil in generation-Z and if possible, adults that are ready to change their false belief that they never commit wrong – a tough call indeed for the adults!
Professional-dwarfs find it extremely hard not only to correct their wrongs but to even accept that they are wrong. Apparently, being wrong causes incredible pain to these people. It causes the feeling of failure and desperation, not knowing always what to do next – mental hopelessness. This type of human being can’t extract themselves out of the complex psychology of accepting and fixing wrongs. It’s not in their DNA
On the other hand, some people take getting things wrong and the subsequent failure in their stride. Such people fail but quickly pick themselves up and get to work again, and moreover, in a very positive way. Often times, they are dealing with the same thing that caused the wrong in the first place. This type of human being is ever keen to ‘right’ their wrong. They can work through the maze of the opposing thought processes that happen inside us when we are wrong – and even worse, when our wrongs are paraded before other folk.
The effectiveness of a manager is impacted when they accept or not, that they are wrong and by the subsequent effort to ‘right’ their wrong. Not accepting wrong, ultimately affects the brand – much as it’s never in the immediate. And this is for the simple reason that managers and other people that can’t accept wrong – won’t correct their wrongs in the first place. They usually find a defence-mechanism that enables them to present themselves as right and keep the status-quo. A usually damaging status quo
However, when you are wrong, you are wrong. Wrong can’t be right, and you are better off accepting wrong and take measures to ‘right’ whatever is wrong.
Two factors that usually drive the acceptance or not of one’s wrongs:
The first factor is not related to the individual; it’s an organisational management-hygiene issue. The environment in which people work influences their affinity for accepting wrongs and taking measures to correct them. If you work in a very punitive environment – you are likely to not admit your wrongs for fear of the harsh sanctions that may follow.
The best example from an OD. practitioner’s perspective is of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba a UK based doctor that was struck off the medical practitioners register for openly acknowledging her mistake when she apparently managed a child that died partly as a result of her misdiagnosing the child’s illness. Many doctors in the UK openly said that the manner in which Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was treated would encourage a culture where doctors would merely hide their mistakes. Organisations and managers can, often and without knowing they are doing so, aid a culture of not accepting or ‘righting’ wrongs.
Second, not accepting wrongs can be attributed to one’s personality. Some people won’t admit that they can fail. They will do all they can to either hide their misdeeds or misrepresent what is wrong and more often than not shift blame on to other people, making themselves look good in the process. In other words, this kind of person believes that they can’t be wrong. It’s how they are wired and correcting such human circuitry is a tall order.
What can be done to encourage people to accept and ‘right’ their wrongs?
- Organisations should accept that people always make mistakes. That mistakes should be openly talked about, analysed and sustainable solutions sought to fix them, than keep them away from the sight of management. Therefore, a so-called learning culture, that tolerates mistakes should be encouraged by firms. Organisations shouldn’t hire management-mechanists but holistic-managers. Management-mechanists more often than not look at one side of the OD. equation while holistic-managers consider all factors required to create a learning, and sustainable plus highly productive organisational value chains. Holistic-managers create a culture that accepts mistakes and put in place processes for learning from mistakes. It’s quite a job to get the balance right
- Individuals should be helped as soon as they enter the management tier to think as below:
- Believe that it’s okay to commit a wrong
- That when one wrongs, they should have the eagerness to get back into the ring – and restart all over again
- ‘Righting’ a wrong is not always a mere re-launch of what failed, but reflecting and learning from what went wrong in the first place
- You can’t change the wrong – but can change, after the wrong, what you do and how
- The wrong makes you stronger, not weaker
- Distance oneself from those individuals and entities that tear you apart for being wrong – they should instead help you learn and move on from your wrong
- You will fail again and again – it’s only a matter of when and it’s okay
- And most of all, know when to stop correcting the same wrong – quit when it’s time to quit
So, friends, get up and ‘right’ your wrongs and keep doing s, till you get it right or decide to quit
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