How should manager a correct himself after giving a wrong advice to a team member, in order to avoid possible loss of trust and confidence in front of the team?

And in this particular context, the mistake happened in the first day as a manager of the team and there were just two of the team members around at that time.

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    Was the advice given in private or in front of the team?
    – user8365
    Sep 15, 2014 at 14:06
  • There was another team member around (so 2 people heard the mistake). Sep 15, 2014 at 14:42

4 Answers 4


Making error is entirely human and should be expected from anyone, including managers at any level. The best way to lose trust is to give the appearance that you never make errors, especially when they get pointed out to you.

To avoid losing trust, it is best if you can admit to having made an error as soon as you realize an error has been made. The next step is to admit it to the people affected by the error and to take corrective action.
If others, that are not affected, overheard the error, you shouldn't need to specifically seek them out to inform them of the error having been made.


You just established that you are capable of making mistakes, because you just made one. Which creates the opportunity for you to establish that you correct your mistakes swiftly and decisively :)

Simply notify the people involved that the advice you originally gave was wrong, give them the corrected advice and follow up to make sure that they have received your corrected advice and that you are answering any questions relating to the correct advice.

Ideally, you should give a quick run down as to why your original advice was wrong and why your corrected advice is right. I have had the tables turned on me when the recipients of my advice determined from the reasons I gave that my original advice was right, and my corrected advice was wrong :)

Of course, you should create a work environment where your subordinates are not shy about pointing out your mistakes, even in front of your group. I am not enthusiastic about subordinates pointing out my heavy duty mistakes in front of my top management and of course, pointing out my mistakes in front of the customer is, dire emergency situations excepted, a no-no.


A few weeks ago I made a rather large public mistake. I sent an email to all of my employees calling out a specific action and stated that if anyone else does this then they might as well look for another job.

This was a mistake for two reasons. First, even though I didn't identify the employee I had an issue with, it was pretty obvious - this should have been a private conversation. Second, that employee didn't make the mistake. I was basing my information on what a client told me and a misunderstood email. After a bit of further research through call logs, email history etc I found out the client was lying.

What I did:

After I found out just how wrong I was, I called everyone into a meeting and publicly apologized. When someone makes a mistake here I expect them to own up to it and that includes me. I'm not perfect, nor do I pretend to be and I will absolutely eat crow when I'm in the wrong.

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    I'll be glad to give you my helping of crow, too :) Sep 18, 2014 at 20:21

Any time I have found myself in that position (and it has happened more than once), they key is to be honest and correct the mistake as soon as possible.

It depends on the severity of the mistake and its potential consequences, but in this case I would initially speak to the 2 team members concerned, apologize for the error and discuss with them the best way to address in issues that it may have caused.

If the larger team needs to be informed, it can be discussed at a team meeting. I prefer the face-to-face approach over emails for issues such as this.

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