Friday, October 16, 2009

How to win friends and influence people: Part 12

If you’re wrong, admit it.

The last post was about not saying if someone is wrong. This one is about admitting that you are wrong. This may seem like it’s self defeating. Many of us don’t like to admit it when we are wrong. When we are wrong we should admit it and get it out in the open. Many relationships have been destroyed because one or both sides can’t admit they are in the wrong. Also if you admit your responsibility it takes that issue away from others to use against you. 

Lee_horse Dale Carnegie uses the historical Gettysburg battle for an example which is a good one. At the height of the battle General Robert E. Lee ordered General George Pickett to make the now famous “Pickett’s Charge”. In all accounts the brave men of the south made the charge but, were turned back with horrible losses. General Lee had realized he made a mistake. He did what so few generals have done, he apologized to the troops. He rode out and said to his defeated troops “All this has been my fault, I and I alone have lost this battle.” That act speaks volumes about General Lee’s strength of character. He could have blamed many things that went wrong prior to that but he did not.

Dale Carnegie Principle: If you are wrong, admit it quickly  and emphatically.

Next Chapter: A Drop of Honey 



  1. Robert,
    I appreciate the article because I've often found when you admit you're wrong people tend to be very gracious. In the end the relationship can be even better as a result of taking that sometimes scary step.

  2. Thank you for your commentary. I have found that to be the case too. Recently a co-worker was afraid to admit to our boss that he had misplaced an important item. When he came forth with the news the boss kind of shrugged and said we'd order another of the same. It may not work 100% but, I do believe it often lessens the blow. If the problem is hidden it can be much worse.