I have a senior Team Member who has an excellent practice of sending me “Fumble Reports.” Fumble Reports are mistakes, failures, and problems in his department that he has discovered and to which he is proactively alerting me.
I LOVE getting these “Chasing a Fumble” emails!
Why would I want to get emails about mistakes, problems, and failures? What kind of idiot TELLS his boss when he blows it? A very smart idiot, that’s who!
Because I, like a lot of bosses, spend a fair amount of time worrying about what I DON’T know, about what I should hear but am not being told about, what is being covered up in hopes that it can be cleaned up before I learn about it. Or if it can’t be fixed, maybe buried so deep I’ll never find out about it.
To me, every problem, threat, challenge, or crisis I don’t know about is a potential killer iceberg. And I so don’t want to be the Titanic.
When someone voluntarily tells me about problems, about fumbles, about developing situations (and some of them aren’t pretty), I have faith that other things are not being hidden from me. I can deal with what I know about. It is the unknowns that really concern me.
Important nuance: Rarely are these emails a request for help and NEVER have they been an attempt to blame others or to put the monkey on my back or someone else’s. They are simply informative and usually conclude with an estimated solution date and always include assurance that he is on top of it and accepts responsibility.
So, want your boss’s confidence? Openly admit your mistakes, take full responsibility, and then solve expeditiously.