Your assumptions of others mistakes may be misplaced.

Why You Shouldn’t Assume Mistakes Were Made

When others’ efforts affect your success in any way, you want to make sure they don’t screw up. You can hire someone to paint your fence, assign a subordinate to write a report, or share responsibility with a partner at school. We depend on others a lot more than we care to admit. People cook for us, they drive us around, and they allow us to focus on what we care for most. In the act of depending on others, they will sometimes let us down. Your Uber driver may make a wrong turn which leads to being stuck in traffic, and your subordinate may miss important information within their report. This article hopes to explore the most optimal approach in discovering and labeling mistakes. A central argument will be that you should refrain from assuming mistakes were made, but rather discover the mistakes together with whomever you suspect to have made the mistake.


Quick Assumptions Lead to Misunderstandings


Mistakes are often more complicated than merely living a binary existence. Rather than a mistake existing or not existing, the question as to why the mistake exists should be an essential goal to discover. Assuming that the people who make mistakes are in the wrong, you should still discover their reasons for making those mistakes . People like to be heard and understood. The mistakes you may assume to be lapses in performance may have good reasons behind them. The people who made these mistakes may have been stuck in choosing the lesser of two evils, and thereby settled on the most optimal solution amidst the circumstances they were in.

Should you assume that those who you consider to have made a mistake are at fault without listening to an explanation, their reaction may cause you to miss out on important information. People are sensitive to being labelled as having made a mistake. Some may push back on your assumption in emotional ways while others may retreat, swallow their pride, and not bother to explain. Few people can react in neutral ways to being labelled as having made a mistake. In an effort to encourage neutral, analytical conversation, inquire into what you think to be a mistake without explicitly labeling it as such. Begin asking if what you consider a mistake actually is one. Listen carefully to what they say. Approaching mistakes in neutral and unemotional ways will encourage those who’ve made mistakes to react the same way. They will be more likely to admit their wrongs and you’ll both be on the road to solving issues quicker than if you were to automatically assume and label mistakes to have been made.

Always fear misunderstanding the world around you. Make it a habit of taking in information without attaching labels to it. Your overall goal should always be to move forward in benefiting yourself, your close ones, and society at large. Being explicit in your act of labeling mistakes may seem to be a direct and effective approach, but it does not consider how the people who’ve made a mistake feel about your act of doing so. The goal with people who’ve made a mistake is to limit its occurrence going forward. The goal is not necessarily to label an owner to every mistake. As long as you’re working toward a solution, assigning an owner at fault does not provide benefit.


Analyze Your Role in the Mistakes Others Make


We all play our roles in the decisions other people make. The mistakes you see may be owned by the ones around you, but your actions may have played a factor in them making that mistake. Before you label owners of mistakes, make sure you analyze how your own words and actions contributed to the mistakes that others make. Others can also interpret your actions to have contributed to the existence of a mistake they’ve made. Should you be too quick to label them the full owner of that mistake, they’ll be quick to point out your involvement. This rebuttal, if true, will damage your image in the situation you find yourself in. You’d be labelled as nearsighted and ignorant to how your role contributes to others’ misfortunes.

Begin your analysis of any mistakes those around you make with an analysis of how your actions could have encouraged wrongful actions. If you acknowledge your involvement in the mistake someone else has made, they’ll be likelier to accept ownership of that mistake. You’ll decrease the chances of an emotional reaction to your discovery. Soon after, you can direct efforts toward solving the issue at hand rather than to assigning owners to issues you discover.

Book Recommendation: 

The Book of Mistakes

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