November 12, 2008 | Mark Paradies

Blog Posting on How To React To A Mistake

The blog posting on another site starts out with …

I was thrashed by my boss way back in 2001 for a minor mistake I did working on a project based on a very new technology. I literally had tears in my eyes after I was shouted upon, knowing that I had worked on the module for 18 hours at a stretch without taking a single break, learning the technology and getting job done. My mistake was minor, but the one my boss committed was major. He lost my respect.  Shouting was his way of reinforcing the belief that he was in charge. I moved on!

Another interesting case happened with one of my friends Alan who was a tech lead with a multi-national company. He had accidentally replaced the production database with an incorrect version leading to overall application failure. Alan knew that he would get a beating and probably may lose his job. While he was still preparing himself mentally for the eventuality, his manager approached him. He entered with a smile on his face and said “I know this is serious, but I am also sure you would do whatever it takes to correct this. Let us put our best and get this back on track”. Alan and his team worked overnight to correct it next morning and client really appreciated this in form of an encouraging email. A few days after this incident, the manager called Alan in the canteen to share a cup of coffee. It was then that the manager inquired about the root cause of such a mistake. The manager informed Alan that such mistakes should not have happened and that he needs to be careful in future.

Being more careful IS NOT a good corrective action. But I like the ideas in the rest of the article. To read the whole post, see:

http://qualsys.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/to-err-is-human-treating-people-when-they-make-mistakes/

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