Home Lead The Brutal Truth About Success Jeff Bezos Knows

The Brutal Truth About Success Jeff Bezos Knows

That Most People Don't. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos observed that the smartest people do something most of us probably will never consider.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
images header


In the fast-paced business world, conventional wisdom dictates that admitting mistakes is a sign of weakness or a loss of power and authority. It also transmits to others that you failed. The reality is quite the opposite. Here's the brutal truth: Acknowledging when you are wrong and when you made a mistake can be a game-changer for your leadership journey. 

As reported previously on Inc., Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has "observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they'd already solved. They're open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking."

In other words, the smart and successful ones admit when they are wrong. As leaders who frequent my musings, I hope you're putting serious thought into practicing this form of intellectual humility. The brutal truth of it takes one courageous first step: It's admitting when you make the wrong choices while being open to considering other people's ideas. 

The research and the benefits

It takes a lot of emotional intelligence and courage to be willing to expose oneself like this, but the research shows that there are significant payoffs to doing so. A seven-year study involving 12,000 people, published in the book Performing Under Pressure, found that admitting when one is wrong is a rare behavior highly correlated with top performers. In fact, those in the top 10 percent of performers were distinguished from average performers by their ability to admit their mistakes.  

Admitting to being wrong also has been found to be positively correlated with promotion. Therefore, when identifying potential leaders, it is essential to look for individuals willing to acknowledge their mistakes.

Acknowledging when you're wrong has many benefits, including breeding trust with teams. Imagine this: You're leading a team, and you've made a call that, upon reflection, wasn't the best move. Instead of sweeping it under the rug, you own up to it.

Admitting that someone's idea is better than yours shows your true authenticity and your capacity to be vulnerable when the stakes are high. Your team will respect you more for being genuine. It builds a trust bridge that can withstand the storms of any workplace.

Admitting mistakes ultimately helps you learn from a great teacher: failure. When you own up to your mistakes, you're not just admitting a blunder; you're saying, "Hey, I'm learning, just like you." It sets a tone that mistakes are not the end of the world; they're steppingstones to success.

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Last update:
Publish date: