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Screwed up at work? Just own it, this CEO says -- here’s why

‘Usually, they have a lot more faith in you after that’

Have you ever messed up at work? How did you handle it?
Have you ever messed up at work? How did you handle it? (Andrew Neel/Pexels stock image)

Take it from Emily Barr, the president and CEO of Graham Media Group: When you screw up on the job, the best thing you can do is go right to your boss and admit it.

“Because they can’t get mad at you ... if you own it,” Barr said in a recent episode of “The Best Advice Show.”

Want to know what will probably happen instead, if you’re straightforward and you own up to your mistake proactively?

Your boss will likely ask for more details about your flub, you’ll provide those, and then your boss might surprise you -- telling you about a time he or she screwed up.

“Basically, they take on the responsibly and they totally absolve you,” Barr said.

Of course, you can’t do this over and over again. You have to learn from your mistakes.

[ Listen to the entire episode below -- it’s only 3 1/2 minutes long. ]

But by bringing the situation to your boss, you’ve diffused the situation.

When it comes to human nature, sometimes we try to cover up our wrongdoings.

Barr provided a great example involving a child getting caught eating chocolate.

But when an adult messes up and tries to skate out of it, it’s worse than a kid. Adults know better. You don’t want to get caught with chocolate on your face. More literally, you don’t want to risk breaking your boss’s trust or damaging that bond.

“If you just fess up and say, ’You know, I messed up. I forgot to make the call. I should have done it. I feel horrible’ -- and especially if you can go to them before they come to you -- you know ... you kind of circumvent the problem that way,” Barr said. “Usually, they have a lot more faith in you after that.”

Host Zak Rosen, by the way, wants to hear from you next. His podcast aims to share good advice with the world.

“The Best Advice Show,” released in April, offers tips on a range of topics, from cooking and food, to career goals, relationship advice and simple life hacks.

Rosen describes the show as your daily gummy vitamin that “will give you some nutrients.”

To contribute some of your own advice -- on any topic -- drop him a voicemail at 844-935-BEST. Leave your name and your tip, followed by your email address in case he has any follow-up questions.

It can be deep or not-so-deep. Rosen has a “Food Fridays” feature in which he’d love to feature your cooking advice. He’s not so much interested in platitudes and truisms, but instead, looking for the specific, odd, uplifting, effective, real advice from you about how you make it through your days.

“The Best Advice Show” is a product of Graham Media Group. Download it wherever you listen to or access podcasts.