Huffington Post

7 Ways to Address Employees Who Try to Cover Up Their Mistakes

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

A. Make the Employee Address the Team

Make the employee address the team and let them know why he/she covered up the mistake instead of communicating. An underlying issue with the team dynamic could be uncovered from such an exercise. - Josh Weiss, Bluegala

A. Reiterate Company Values

Remember to point out how much the team appreciates transparency. There's no sense in publicly shaming an individual for doing something wrong. Instead, make sure to privately explain the negative impact that a lack of communication can have on the firm and help the employee understand how much the team wants to hear both the good and the bad things happening within the company. That way everyone can pitch in to fix any pressing problems. - Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

A. Discuss the Importance of Teamwork

Sit them down and discuss the importance of teamwork. If you do not see the problem as one that can be easily resolved, it may be necessary to change their role in the company. - Ashley Mady, Brandberry

A. Use it as an Opportunity to Teach

Since the meaning of discipline is to teach, I would use this as an opportunity to discuss with the entire team why communication and teamwork is the key to success. Making sure that everyone has a clear understanding of how they can help fix mistakes empowers them to come up with proactive solutions. It also opens up the dialogue if other employees have similar fears or tendencies. - Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

A. Ask Questions First

Discipline is expected. Start with a simple question, "What happened?" After hearing the explanation, ask what they would do differently. It's important to get an understanding of their world view and then help them to understand, "this is how we do it around here." There is a good chance that mistakes weren't allowed at their last place of employment so they felt they had to cover things up. -Mike Ambassador Bruny, Ambassador Bruny Dot Com

A. Look at the Deeper Issues, Then Decide

We do not tolerate this. However, you need to understand why the mistake was not communicated. Is your company fostering a culture that does not encourage communication? Is this individual afraid to make mistakes and if so, why? If this is a company culture issue, take measures to change it. If this is a person-specific issue, consider terminating the employee. - Matthew Moisan, Moisan Legal, P.C.

A. Avoid Negative Feedback

Put yourself in the position of your employees -- they most likely covered up their mistake because they were scared to be called out, yelled at, or fired. You need to explain to them that communicating the mistake would be far more beneficial as an answer to the scenario than covering it up. Covering up mistakes just makes them look twice as bad. - Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

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