You really blew it this time – you made a major mistake at work. Your first instinct is to run and hide! You may react in panic, saying too much and overcomplicating an already inflammatory situation. Or you may be tempted to hastily cover up your error and find ways to defend yourself.
While seeking help and self-preservation are both natural, neither is the right reaction – and once you compose yourself, you’ll realize that. It’s time to take responsibility, apologize and proceed with professionalism and poise. If handled correctly, a mistake can do more to impress those around you than tarnish their view of your work.
Take a Breath – Then Take Action
How you handle your mistake says as much about you as the error itself. Reasonable bosses understand that mistakes happen. What matters is how you follow up afterwards.
- Analyze the situation. If your error is retractable, act upon this immediately. If not, quickly devise a plan for correcting your mistake. Either way, report the situation to your boss without delay. This shows that you function well under pressure and care about the success and reputation of your company.
- Take responsibility. Even if they’re legitimate, don’t make excuses. All that matters is how you’ll remedy the situation.
- Tell your boss how it happened. They need to make sure you understand the seriousness of your error and how to avoid it in the future.
- Do everything in your power to make it right. Take extra time and steps to correct your mistake and set things straight. Stop the damage from spreading; for instance, call the person you accidentally emailed and request that they delete your message immediately. Clean up the damage that’s already been done and do whatever you can to ensure there won’t be a reoccurrence – ever.
- Be prepared for the repercussions. Despite your apology and spot-on corrective actions, brace yourself for the fact that you will likely suffer some type of consequence. If your mistake was serious enough, you may even be terminated. At the very least, you likely will have to rebuild some trust with your boss. Be patient, work hard and you can win back what you’ve lost.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Well, maybe just a little. But remember, to err is human. Thoroughly examine what went wrong, but don’t dwell on it or be too hard on yourself as a result.
The staffing and career development experts at PrideStaff Fresno offer a wealth of resources to help you achieve and maintain ongoing career success. To learn more, read our related posts or contact us today.