How Do You Respond When Someone Points Out A Mistake?


Two wrongs do not make a right. There might be the saying ‘No harm, no foul.’

But the laws of existence hold that after a mistake, we should get to the bottom of the issue because if we don’t deal with our errors and rectify them as soon as possible, serious ramifications could follow.

First, thank them for pointing out the mistake e.g.: “Thanks for the hint. I never would have noticed.” Take responsibility, avoid blame, make every effort to correct the mistake as soon as possible, and apologize sincerely if someone has suffered a detriment as a result.

To err is human; accept the emotions.

There is nothing wrong with feeling embarrassed, ashamed, sad, or worried about losing a client or getting fired. Accept and work with these feelings.

You might even feel like not getting back up or making an attempt to move forward.

Accept the emotions but don’t dwell on them for too long-this will make things worse than they already are.

Try to look at things objectively.

Once you process your feelings, you can respond with something like:

“I’m sorry about the error. Can you tell me what you think is the best way to fix it?”

Analyze the mistake

Mistakes happen, and we know that this is something all of us struggle with. Someone could be wrong, and it isn’t always easy to accept it.

But one way you can make things easier on yourself is by not thinking about it as much as you usually would. You can do this by trying to see it from someone else’s point of view!

Imagine someone else committed that error and put yourself in the shoes of the person who’s pointing it out. Try to understand the mistake and their reasoning.

Ask yourself:

  • What was the mistake?
  • What caused it?
  • How could it have been prevented?
  • How do you prevent it in the future?

This analysis can be a great team-building strategy that should be considered during any heated situation.

Appreciate that they pointed it out

We should always thank the other person for their time and effort to point out a mistake.

We should also ask them how they would suggest that we fix it so that other people don’t make the same mistake in the future.

If it’s a mistake on your recently published post (pointed out by one of your readers), an ideal response would be:

“Thanks for the helpful suggestion! I had read over it before publishing, but it was nice to see your thought process on how to improve it.”

An alternative response to an editor would be:

“I want you to know I very much appreciate you taking the time and effort not only to read my post but also providing edits and suggestions so I can improve the quality of this post. I will look into fixing/clarifying all errors in a short time.”

Be open to being corrected by others.

People who are willing to learn often find tactful approaches to use feedback to improve, whether in customer service or project delivery.

Don’t be defensive

If you find that someone has pointed out a mistake in your work, don’t be defensive.

You want to use the opportunity to learn and improve your skillset. This means that you should take the point on board with an open mind.

Whoever has spotted the mistake has likely done so because they care about your work.

If you are still unsure how to correct it, ask them for their help or advice; there is no shame in admitting you may not be an expert in every field of expertise!

Take it constructively. It is not personal. It is better to learn how to accept this now instead of later in the workforce.

As you get older, this will become more common. Be thankful and consider what you can improve.

At first, the truth might be a bitter pill to swallow, but you will become better at dealing with it in time. When mistakes are pointed on your part, it will work well for you if you respond positively.

Take a deep breath

Frustration is contagious. Stay calm when dealing with mistakes.

You might say something like:

“I know that I have been making a lot of mistakes lately. It’s really hard to think straight when you’re sleep-deprived.”

It’s essential to take a step back and acknowledge these mistakes so that you can learn from them and do better next time.

It’s best not to let emotions get the better of you when receiving criticism.

We understand that when you are on the receiving end of criticism, it can feel like they’re harsh or hurtful, but we want to remind you that corrections from good-natured family and friends come with a positive intention in mind.

Don’t pass the blame

If it was your fault, let the person know that it was your fault and that you’re sorry.

The most important thing is to admit when you’re wrong and apologize. It takes a little humility, but it will go a long way towards building trust.

When you admit your mistakes, people need to see that you’re truly sorry. Let the person know you acknowledge your fault and wish to make amends with them in some way.

Honesty can go a long way in building trust with your clients if you’ve been given zero-star reviews due to an error you made.

Acknowledge your part in the mistake

When someone points out a mistake that you have made, it is best not to respond in a way that diminishes your role in the mistake. You can say:

“Thank you for pointing that out. I would have never noticed it.”

The more you are self-aware, the more likely people will forgive you for your mistake.

You can point out what went wrong, why, and what consequences their feedback has helped avert.

There’s no better way to weather the storm than by facing up to ones’ shortcomings.

We recommend that entrepreneurs apply this motto to every area of their lives – especially when their business is small and still developing.

Say you are going to look into it

It is important not to take any feedback as a direct attack on who we are or what we do. We should take it as helpful feedback, which will help us to improve.

Do say you are going to look into it. Don’t be dismissive, don’t get defensive, and don’t accuse the person of not understanding what you said or know about your topic (even if that is true).

Just ensure to fix your mistake as soon as possible.

Analyze and fix the mistake before apologizing.

Based on the magnitude of the mistake, it is possible to correct it by email or in person.

Apologize

If someone points out your mistake, it’s important to apologize sincerely. You want to make them feel aware of your mistake and hope that they will forgive you.

A sincere apology won’t cost anything but is invaluable in showing respect for the person who pointed out the error. [1]

“Thanks for the correction” is a great way to acknowledge someone politely who’s pointed out that you made a mistake. Next, use “I apologize that I did X” to sincerely express remorse when someone has been hurt or harmed by your mistake.

If you have upset someone somehow, the importance of handling it quickly will lessen before any damage is done.

Keep your apology short and sincere; experts point out that saying sorry too many times lowers your self-esteem. [2] If you are apologizing to your boss, here is what to say:

“Hi [X], today I sent you the wrong project report. My apologies for that. I’ve just sent you the correct one. In case I can help in any other way, please let me know.”

Please apologize to your colleagues as well if they were affected by the error.

Be careful who you tell the news to – you might not want to share the news with everyone.

Suggest a corrective measure

Your boss might want you to come up with a corrective course of action.

This is when you can suggest the change they are looking for.

“I know we have lost this client, but I have pitched to five more.”

When you cannot think of a solution, just say straight out:

“I want to make things right, but I have no idea how. What can I do to help?”

Learn from your mistake

The first step to recovery from a mistake is to acknowledge them and learn from them.

It may be a little painful at the time, but the more accurate your assessment of any errors you make, the better you’ll be able to avoid them in the future.

Secondly, don’t engage in negative self-talk as it will only serve to erode self-confidence and serve as a further discouragement – do this, and not only will your career suffer, it could spiral out of control into an abyss if not worked upon.

Take your mistakes as an invaluable lesson to help you grow.

In a nutshell, ensure that mistakes are approached objectively. Use that chance to learn to prevent them from occurring again later down the line while also remaining determined to put forward hard work and determination.


Sources:

[1]: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01375/full

[2]: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264695556

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