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Fear of failure rife in business, reveals survey


85 per cent of Australians worry about making mistakes at work, according to a survey of business workers across Australia conducted by Pilot Pen Australia.

“Making mistakes is a shared concern amongst Australian office workers,” said Ms Barbara Oliver, marketing manager, Pilot Pen Australia.

Pilot Pen conducted the survey to gain an insight into the thoughts and habits of Australian office workers.

“Every year, in spite of the increase in technology, we continue to supply thousands of ink pens to offices all over Australia and so understanding the business market is important to us,” said Ms Oliver.

“38 per cent of those surveyed said that they worried that making a mistake would tarnish their reputation with 35 per cent saying they wanted to be respected and rewarded for their performance. Just 11 per cent said they wanted to avoid being passed over for a promotion. The majority (40 per cent) said not achieving key goals, outcomes and budgets was their worst fear,” she said.

Mr David Carman, managing director of executive training and leadership development company, Realise Now, said that maintaining self esteem in the business environment is crucial to confidence and performance.

“Many people worry about making a mistake, not because of their own personal gain but because they want to be respected by their colleagues, managers and peers,” he said.

Failing to achieve key outcomes/goals was considered the worst mistake ever made (32 per cent) quickly followed by written errors and spelling mistakes (30 per cent). Hitting ‘send’ on an email to the wrong person was also high up on the worst mistakes list (26 per cent). Interestingly getting drunk at the office party ranked at just 12 per cent.

“Fear of failure exists at all levels within many companies. However, it is important to understand we can learn from our mistakes and move on. Passing key learnings onto junior colleagues can be enormously beneficial,” said Mr Carman.

When asked for one piece of advice to give junior colleagues, the overwhelming majority (61 per cent) advised to check their work for mistakes and typos.

“One respondent said that she had made a spelling error in an EDM that was distributed to 1000 clients and that it was a mistake that had a ripple effect throughout the business, throwing her ability into question,” said Ms Oliver.

“Thankfully, we recently introduced Frixion pens into the Australian market. Frixion is made from a thermo-sensitive ink that can be rubbed out, erasing mistakes in an instant!” she laughed.

Frixion is available in all major retailers, newsagents and stationery suppliers nationally. Visit: