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Discussion on: Should you Fire a Coworker for Making an Honest Mistake?

ozzyaaron profile image
Aaron Todd

Oh wow! The EXACT same thing happened to me with my hair dresser a while back. I'd been going to her for years and she was only the second person to cut my hair that I didn't mind chatting with. More importantly I trusted her to make all decisions regarding my hair as I have no idea what I'm doing.

She cut my ear a tiny bit, I barely even felt it but it bled for ages!

I went back because there was a history of her doing the right thing, being a great fit, trying to meet my needs - and then one day she made a mistake.

In another similar story I went for a shave with a straight razor at a barber. The girl there didn't really seem to care and cut me all to hell. I have shaved myself with a straight and have done a far better job! I never went back.

I never went back because her demeanor showed me she didn't really care and my first service was terrible.

I think these stories illustrate the point that I would make about any situation including the employment situation but also friends and other relationships. If the person has a history of trying to do the right thing or doing the right thing and this is a genuine mistake then I forgive and we move on with a strategy built together to prevent that issue coming up again. It is important that it is talked about as much as is needed to get to this point I think. This, again, is true in the workplace as much as anywhere else.

If the person has a track record of not trying, where you almost look at the mistake of outcome of them not having the rigor required to do right by their team (or friend or friend group etc) then fire them (or quit them as friend etc).

Everybody makes mistakes, I think the important thing to ask is

1) Is this another failure in a line of failures or just a blip from a genuinely great person
2) Can you/they/everybody learn from this mistake and will they/you/everyone. People who don't learn from mistakes should absolutely be washed from a team and your life.

Just my 2c!

t4rzsan profile image
Jakob Christensen Author

This made me laugh. I hope we are not using the same hairdresser :-). You definitely should not trust a careless stranger with a razor blade.

I absolutely agree with your 2c!