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I've had this happen a few times and have approached in several ways. Would like the wisdom of the community on this one.

I've had directs (different people, similar issue) who have made a mistake and, proactively, stated "I dropped the ball on that one, won't let it happen again...".

Question for the community: do you say anything at that point other than "thank you, I appreciate your recognizing the issue and taking care of it for the future...?"

If the same behavior recurs I would address with feedback and it would reference the act that they essentially gave them self feedback (getting into systemic feedback, to a small degree).

Look forward to the opinions of the masses, thank you.

schroederc's picture

Thank you for this question. My initial reaction would be the very same. Your question made me think.

Instead of saying "Thank you for your openness" you could ask more specific about the plan of the employee to rectify this particular situation. If it is something that is "not good", then why not give negative feedback?

I would not be surprised if you would worry on the relationship with the direct. And expect that only a good relationship will let them communicate their mistakes to you openly. 

And the good relationship is established through the O3. 

Here is my personal view on mistakes and guilt:

You as the one doing the mistake feel miserable about it. You have not just done a mistake but you let your boss, team, colleagues, customers down. You have not lived up to your own standards. This is the fundament for the feeling of guilt.

The only way of getting rid of this feeling of guilt is by apologizing and by hard work to minimize the effect of the mistake. When your boss is not seeing this as issue, it will not resolve your feelings about yourself. Therefore it could be better for the direct to hear about the negative consequences (the manager the the direct are having the same view on what has happend). This alignes the direct and the manager. It has nothing to do with anger but with stating the obvious. 

Just a thought.

Scgoldie's picture

Positive feedback: when you show awareness of mistakes, it shows me you're paying attention.  Keep me in the loop, and ask for help if you feel you're going to drop a ball in future.