How to call attention to someone’s mistake without offending them

Audio version available: 

As a manager, I struggle a lot with pointing out the mistakes of people I work with. This one time I had to manage a girl that was interning for the automobile company I worked for. And unfortunately, she had no experience in the field, only university education. Which meant she was going to make a lot of mistakes. 

Since I was the manager, I had to point out those mistakes and help her fix them. So, I came up with 2 strategies to deploy. One of the strategies was to call attention to her mistakes indirectly. For example, if she made a mistake cleaning one of the cars. 

I would talk about some of the mistakes other employees made cleaning the car or emphasize the part of the process she made the mistake with. This helped her correct the mistake without me directly telling her. Most people feel offended or humiliated when someone points out their mistakes. That is why I had to do it indirectly. 

The second strategy was mentioning my mistake first. If she made a mistake checking the car for any problems, I would mention some of the mistakes I made when I first started and then proceed to tell them how they can do better. This made sure my feedback was constructive and not embarrassing. 

Authors Note

We wish our readers don’t just simply read this story but rather also reflect on the lessons mentioned. See if you can implement any of the lessons taught in your life.

Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Purchase book on Amazon)

Lesson(s)

  • Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.

Try mentioning mistakes other people made or emphasize the part of the process they made a mistake in. 

  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

Notice: All of the content above is fictional. 

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