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Human Behavior

How to Torture Your Boss With Your Need to Explain Yourself

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Dear Boss,

Just want you to know that I now understand what you wanted when you asked me for that information before. Though you took the time to explain it to me I had a feeling this other way (that I thought of) might also work. See, what I was thinking you meant was this….

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Dear Employee,

Can I stop you there? While I’m usually eager to hear feedback from my employees, maybe this time before you tell me why you thought the wrong way was the right way, I’m wondering if you could instead write it down on a piece of paper, set it on fire, and let the ashes sprinkle into the atmosphere. I think that will really help you. I know it will help me :)

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Why your torture plan will surely backfire

Imagine you’re late for an appointment that will make you money and a stranger stops you on the street to tell you, “I thought I was on Main street, but it turns out I am on Elm Street. That’s why I’m standing here on Elm Street.” Doesn’t really help your life in any way does it. We have limited time on planet earth. Taking time out of your boss’ day to satisfy your self-serving need to explain yourself is maddening and also completely useless when it comes to growing and running a business.

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Maybe try this instead?

Not every mistake needs to be explained, it just needs to be corrected. We of course want to defend ourselves so we don’t look stupid and/or incompetent, but sometimes you just have to live with the fact that you did something wrong. More often than not you should bite your tongue and just correct it. If, on the other hand, you are given a project without specific guidelines and you turn in something other than what was expected then you’ve got your chance to explain away.

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