8 responses to “Keeping Face”

  1. GEARS

    And also remember, you can always say you don’t know… that will keep you from digging your own grave 😀

  2. FrauTech

    I like this. But I owned up to a mistake once and a superior threw it back in my face a couple weeks later, re-blaming me for the whole issue when I’d already admitted I should have known better. I believe the superior also cited this as a reason for not trusting me in future situations (which ended up being a short term banishment, but still frustrating).

    I am pro admitting mistakes but I think the wrong kind of boss or wrong kind of supervisor will use it as ammunition to blame subordinates for things rather than accept ultimate responsibility at their level. I’d advise you have to be careful to how you admit to your mistake.

  3. Mike

    There is a saying: It is not how you fall down which matters, but how you pick yourself up.

    In reality it all depends on your boss. If they are a realistic person then they understand that mistakes happen. A good manager knows you feel bad, and didn’t do it on purpose. On the other hand if they are the sort that boasts about how they “went to the university of life, school of hard knocks” and whose management style consists mostly of shouting, then you are stuffed. You have the judgement call to make: Try to hide it or not? If the decision is to try and hide it, then the management have failed, and you should be looking at working somewhere better.

  4. riven

    A counter question then; how would you keep face or react if a mistake made by one of your colleague or subordinates came to your desk? I think you can define certain steps or questions that you would ask to get a handle on the ”situation” even before examining the situation in detail.

  5. Lessons from my Mother | Engineer Blogs

    […] the past it’s meant I’ve been too honest. Paul Clarke just posted to admit readily to your mistakes in order to save face. I’m so quick to admit to mistakes I probably admit to things that aren’t really my […]

  6. Glen

    This is cool. I remember my first gut wrenching mistake. Going to my boss and admitting my fool hardiness. He helped me resolve it and did everything in his power to help the situation. He knew I’d never make the same mistake again. 10 years later and -touch wood- I’m a better Engineer for it. So you guys mind if I steal this thread for a discussion on the linkedin IStructE group?

  7. An old engineer

    Everyone can make a mistake, even the best engineers (how about all of those engineers who said that a 5 lb block of sytrafoam couldn’t possibly damage a shuttle wing).

    The important thing is what you do after the s**t hits the fan. Some people will blame others for the mistake, others will try and fade away into the wallpaper. I look for answers and solutions to fix the problem and try and get the repair project organized. The problem will never get resolved unless someone starts the ball rolling. You need to be that person.