From Around the Web: Women Leaders Admit to Missteps

Mistakes I made at work cover

Overcoming Productivity Killers Series 4 of 4

The last post of our “Overcoming Productivity Killers” series highlights research on the ways influential women handle mistakes made at work.

No one is immune: we all make mistakes. Some individuals openly discuss their mistakes while others bury them deep within, hoping the error is soon forgotten. As examined in a recent Forbes article, an editor collected essays of influential women and asked them to show their vulnerability by sharing how they dealt with mistakes made at work.

Jessica Bacal, director of the Wurtele Center for Work and Life at Smith College, and the editor of Mistakes I Made At Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting it Wrong, began her project focusing on how people deal with errors and if these mechanisms differ from individuals in unique professions.

Bacal found that “the ability to extract lessons and keep going was a critical element of success.” She also indicated that women and men view their errors differently, and often times, workplaces do, too.

“Women are more likely to get flak for mistakes, especially in typically ‘male’ roles,” writes Bacal. “If women are giving themselves tight margins for error, this could easily be seen as self-preservation. The problem is that anyone who wants to innovate, gain recognition, or become a leader will need to take risks and realize that mistakes are inevitable.”


We want to hear from you:
How do you learn from your mistakes? Do you think women’s mistakes are viewed differently than men’s?

One Response to From Around the Web: Women Leaders Admit to Missteps

  1. Phoebe Ng says:

    My principal for myself and the people around me is that mistake is good if you learn from them. Hence, it is okay to make mistakes but own up, reflect, learn from it and move on. Besides, you can only be penalized for a mistake once after you have owned up to it. However, if you refuse to admit to the mistake that is clearly yours, you will always have to live with it in the eyes of the witnesses of your mistake(s).

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