June 10

Deflect, rationalize, and blame. These tactics have become more common in the workplace, and they’re destroying team culture. “It’s not my fault!” is something a child says when caught breaking a lamp, not something an adult should say when they fail at work.

Often, people deflect and blame because they are afraid of losing the trust of their peers. They fear being seen as incompetent and will do anything to protect their reputations. However, this tactic often has the opposite effect. Everyone likely already suspects who’s really at fault. The denial only breaches trust even further.

Own your mistakes. Assume responsibility for making them right. In fact, don’t wait until it’s too late. Speak up early and often, and you might be able to prevent the worst from even occurring. It might sting a little in the moment, but in the long term, people will trust you to do what’s right, not just what’s comfortable. When you make a mistake:

►Acknowledge and own it.

►Determine how you can fix it or prevent it from happening


►Communicate your plan to your manager, your stakeholders,

or your peers.

If you are running fast enough and trying difficult things (which you should be!), you are going to make mistakes.


Have you ever known someone who refused to own their mis­ takes? How did it feel to collaborate with them?

To build trust in your peers (and yourself ), own your mistakes.

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