Whenever you do something wrong, these are the embarrassing bosses who love to point it out in front of as many people as possible. They seemingly give no thought to the fact that it’s embarrassing you in front of your customers or colleagues.
If you find yourself having to deal with bosses like this, try this three step approach:
After an incident, find a quiet moment to meet with them privately, then:
a. Apologize for your mistake (again) ie: “I’m really sorry for messing up that purchase order.”
b. Reaffirm to them that quality is important to you, ie: “I really do want to do a good job, and I hate it when I do things like that.”
c. Ask them if, in future, they would discuss these things with you in private. ie: “I know I shouldn’t, boss, but I find myself getting really defensive when you bring up my mistakes in front of other people. On the off chance that I mess up again, would it be possible for you to tell me in private?”
This strategy won’t always work with all bosses, of course. Some people just seem to enjoy the power that comes from embarrassing people in public. Don’t assume, however, that this is their motivation. You may be surprised.
One key thing to remember is that, if you do try this approach, you absolutely should not do it in front of other people. Bosses may perceive you as trying to publicly deflect from the issue of your mistake. And worse – you will have put them in a position where they will feel the need to defend themselves in front of an audience – and there is no way they are going to let you win!