Taking responsibility and honoring our mistakes
Why is it that some people just cannot admit that they have been wrong or have made a mistake?
We see this type of behavior all the time within dental practices. Clinical team members blaming the cleaning service for broken equipment. An Administrative employee accusing the patient of not informing the front desk of an insurance carrier change, when in fact it was never adjusted in the system. Even the doctor can be guilty of this when they blame an ill-fitting crown based on the incompetence of the lab.
Why is it so difficult to recognize and honor our mistakes? Is it easier to throw someone else under the bus than to stand up and admit to a mistake and fess up to the fact that it happens to all of us?
Granted, mistakes on a consistent basis or making the same mistakes time and time again is a significant cause for concern, but on occasion we all “slip up”, is a sign that we are all human.
How might we correct this? What can we do as a team to ensure that we take total responsibility for our own actions?
I believe that we should revert to the “elephant in the living room” concept. This implies that we all know it’s an issue, yet it is never addressed properly so it becomes an ongoing situation. As a group we need to publicly give each other permission to not only make a mistake now and then, but to admit it and claim it. Passing the blame to someone else or even more upsetting, passing the blame on to another team member, is downright unacceptable.
Perhaps this is a character flaw which almost relates to a sign of immaturity and insecurity. As kids we never wanted to be punished for mistakes that we made since we hated for our parents to be angry with us, possibly causing us to lose some privileges like our allowance or some freedoms. As adults we don’t want to have to answer to a disappointed employer, fellow team member, or patient, possibly losing respect and credibility. This can be quite hurtful to many of us in the dental profession and I include myself.
Once the “playing field” and team rules are spelled out with everyone coming from the same place with the same standards, much of this petty and unnecessary dynamic should diminish greatly.