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Do you know someone who suffers from ‘error blindness’?

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Question: "One of my co-workers is a very good employee, and usually very friendly, but wow, when anyone makes a mistake or doesn't quite perform to his liking, he is totally brutal and unfair in his criticism—always out of their earshot. How do I tell him gently that everyone who makes errors isn't an 'idiot'? And why is it that people always overlook their own mistakes yet blast everyone else for theirs?" - Gemma, Facilities Reservations

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy May 16, 2014 at 11:51 am

Clearly this person doesn’t have a clue about manners. Maybe you should pointedly ask him if he would like to be talked about like this behind his back?

IMHO his lack of manners and professionalism is FAR more egregious than any “mistake” another employee might make!


Lauren May 16, 2014 at 9:19 am

In this situation I think I would put that person on the spot to understand that the comments they are making about others may apply to you too because you make the same exact mistakes. I feel this really makes them realize that even if they feel that way, it may be best to keep his comments to his self because he may be offending more than just the person whose back he is talking behind since we all make mistakes. It won’t necessarily stop his disrespectful remarks but it may at least make him stop voicing them to others.


Pam May 16, 2014 at 7:54 am

I think everyone suffers from “error blindness” to some degree. If you’re proofing your own work, you may pick up on the spelling errors, but you don’t always pick up on the sentence itself – you read what it supposed to say, not necessarily what it does say. I usually put things I need to proof aside for a while after I do them and look at them later with a fresher eye. It helps, but it’s not always fool-proof so I will literally read it out loud and that’s when I catch my mistakes.


Cathy May 16, 2014 at 7:36 am

I have a co-worker who is seemingly friendly but is quick to point out anyone’s mistakes ( she rarely owns up to a mistake and constantly makes the same ones over & over again) and make snide remarks about it to anyone who’ll listen. We have tried to stop her from doing that, but she’ll say that she was only kidding or didn’t mean to sound snide. So, I quit listening. When she starts up about someone else’s mistake, I shake my head and walk away. She doesn’t talk like that around me anymore.


Madeline May 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Can this also apply to family as well? My step-brother-in-law who thinks he’s right and everyone is wrong, has made the most mea-culpa imaginable. Let’s see for example, my mother had done something, that shouldn’t happened, it was a mistake. In the meantime, Mr. Right allowed his previous dog, Zack to put his dirty paws on the dinner table while everyone was eating. It was quite disgusting. Unfortunately, you can’t say anything about it to him, but my father-in-law put him in his place. In fact, this was going on while my family was burying my grandmother of all days to do this, was on Mother’s Day. When my in-laws came over, my step-brother-in-law’s apartment was a mess, poor Zack was walking around looking plenty filthy and while step-brother-in-law dear was cleaning up, my father-in-law had to start the grill up. It was quite embarrassing. Can you imagine what he’s like at work?


Anita May 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Gemma, I honestly believe that it depends on your relationship with your coworker, whether you should say something or not. If you are comfortable with your coworker, you can remain neutral and defend the person he is attacking by saying something like “he must be having an ‘off’ day because he’s usually on top of things.” I find it more effective to point out the situation rather than a personality trait. If it begins to affect the work environment, then the issue has to be escalated.


Mary May 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I think we get angriest with others for things we do ourselves. You may want to mention to this person that, just like you said, no one is without a mistake and you would think the person did not do it on purpose. Ask this person how he/she would like someone to perceive the situation had he/she made the same mistake.


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