If there is one thing over the past decade plus that I've learned that has helped me to succeed it was learning to say I was wrong.
I think there's a bad stigma associated with admitting you're wrong. I think most people tend to believe that if they admit they're wrong they're admitting that they're weak, that they're not as good as their peers, or that they don't know enough. I think this is especially true in the technology industry.
As a professional technologist I'm competing against people that are younger, people that are older, people that have more experience, people that have better educations, people that have better intuition, and so on and so on. I'm constantly comparing myself to my peers and to the people I want to be my peers. That doesn't lend to an atmosphere where it feels like it is okay to be wrong.
Being able to admit you are wrong helps you build trust. It sends the signal to others that you're a person that puts doing the correct thing ahead of your own pride. It gives people insight and clarity into your intentions.
Being able to admit you are wrong is a sign of maturity. As humans one of the ways we learn and course correct is by looking back at things we have failed at . We analyze the situation identifying what we did correct and what we did incorrect and then trying to do more of what we've done correct. When you are able to admit you were wrong what you're doing is showing others that you are aware of this process and that you are actively trying to learn from your mistakes.
One of the best benefits of being able to admit you are wrong is that you'll no longer have to continually say I was right. Constantly having to tell people you were right in a situation is a sign that you're not owning up to when you were wrong. It's a sign that you feel the need to justify your position. Once you've gained trust and you've gained empathy you will have built trust in your skills and your decision making ability. You will have less stress from having to worry about what people think of your choices because your transparency will lead others to be more transparent.
Sure, there are going to be folks out there that are going to try to take advantage of this. But what I've noticed over the past decade plus is that once you set the expectation that you're a person that can admit fault or wrongness people are willing to help defend your right to be wrong. I believe this is because they want to work somewhere where it's okay to not be perfect.
Another positive outcome of admitting you were wrong is that you'll receive better constructive criticism. People will be less focused on trying to get you to realize that you were wrong and will start to focus on helping you understand and learn from why you were wrong. You will then have the ability to take that constructive criticism and learn from it. All the while you're gaining trust and empathy for you.
So next time you're confronted with having made a bad decision, the incorrect choice in technology, or whatever try admitting you were wrong and then commit to using what you've learned by being wrong to be better. You're company, your project, your team, and your career will all benefit from it.