Admitting that you’ve made a mistake as a manager can be a hit to your ego. But arguing with or blaming others (or trying to dodge by saying something vague like “Mistakes were made…”) will only make things worse. It’s much better to take responsibility for the situation so that you can clear the air and move on.
Swallow your pride and simply say “I was wrong,” offering a brief explanation without making excuses. If your error had a negative effect on others, acknowledge it.
Really listen to their reactions — don’t get defensive or interrupt.
Then explain what you’re doing to remedy the mistake, including its substantive impacts (money, time, processes) and relational impacts (feelings, reputation, trust).
Finally, be open to feedback about what you’re doing. And tell those affected by your error what you’ve learned about yourself (“I realize I sometimes ignore people I don’t see eye-to-eye with”) and what you’re going to do differently in the future.
Adapted from “What to Do When You Realize You’ve Made a Mistake," by Deborah Grayson Riegel