I had a boss once who thought saying, “I’m Sorry” was a sign of weakness, so she never admitted a mistake or apologized for anything. When I encountered her I was much more mature in my career and I told her that I understood her point of view yet strongly disagreed. I told her that I believe admitting a mistake take guts and courage, and the ability to apologize lets others understand that you are not perfect nor do you expect anyone else to be perfect. She looked me straight in the eye and told me no one had ever disagreed with her so directly before.

We all make mistakes and we all know it. Guess what, everyone else knows we make mistakes too. When we fail to acknowledge our own short comings and errors we are building a wall that will eventually tumble down, usually on ourselves. Our arrogance and stubbornness builds a facade that people eventually see through which degrades any form of trust or respect we have earned. It is not how we handle success that shows our character and maturity, it is our ability to handle failure and admit defeat that REALLY shows the content of our character. People want to be around people who are working to be better people everyday, and that means knowing when to tell the truth to those in the circle around us.

Back to the story about my boss. She told me she was caught off guard by someone who told her to her face that they did not agree with her. I then told her about another boss I had, who told me that if I think like him then he doesn’t need me anymore. If we both think alike then one of us is redundant. I let her know I had to be true to my own character and if that meant I had to always agree with her then I had better polish my resume and start looking for another job. I ended by saying that if I thought I had been wrong in telling her the truth I was not afraid to admit my mistake, but I was not wrong to be honest..then I shut up. She ended up being fired within the year and I worked there for many more years.

It takes guts to admit you are wrong, it is not a sign of weakness. Admitting you are wrong also sets the expectation that it will not happen again on your watch. Work today towards being the person who is big enough to tell the truth no matter how it shows your imperfections. In the end our character is who we really are and it will stand the test of time if it is based on honesty and integrity.