Dynamic Happenings

Oops – You made a workplace mistake!  Here’s how you should tackle it!

February 04, 2014 General

Jackie was gossiping online with her colleague about her boss. To her
amazement, she mistakenly copied her boss in the recipient list, courtesy
auto-fill function. Big or small, we all make mistakes. Making a mistake at work
doesn’t mean you should throw yourself into a tail spin of embarrassment and self-blaming. After all, to err is human – yes at the moment you look well…. Not so
great. No matter what mistake did you make and how bad you think it is, there are things you can do to make it a little less painful. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts when you make an embarrassing workplace mistake.

1.  Don’t be an Ostrich

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them. - Bruce Lee
Hiding your head won’t take away the mistake. No mistake is too BIG to admit. Start with taking the responsibility. Own up to your mistake. Covering up the truth, deliberating the facts or passing the bucks won’t really help.

If it’s a team project the mistake might be mutual and multi-layered. If it is, step up and share your bit of mistake. Saying sorry won’t hurt. Might you be embarrassed? Sure, after all you are the one who made it.  Admitting your mistake is your first step to fix it.  And might we tell you, your confession might not necessarily stop your boss getting mad at you. But you have to empathize with him. Your mistake might have put him in deep water. The best way to get your apology accepted is to make it in the first place. 

2.  Do it NOW – Don’t Wait – lingering in time will only make it worse!

It is best to admit your mistake quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations. - Steve Jobs
Admitting your mistake is good but you have to do it promptly, for two reasons. First, any delay on your part is not going to make the situation any better. Second, reporting the mistake timely will help you minimize the losses. Go by the thumb rule – the sooner, the better. 

3.  Offer a Solution

When you make a mistake, it’s time to leave the corner and take the center by offering a smart solution. - Anonymous
Offering a solution to your mistake is the best way to get hold of the situation and do appropriate damage control. Start by asking yourself - Can I fix it myself? If not, can one of my colleagues fix it? How much time and cost will the correction take? What can I personally do to make the situation better?

Committing a mistake won’t hurt the credibility of your work as much as not providing a solution. Moreover, a well thought out solution will draw the focus of your superior from the mistake itself. 

4.  Learn from Your Mistake

Mistakes are a great opportunity to begin again more intelligently. – Henry Ford
It may sound like an irony, but mistakes are a great source of learning, only if you can keep yourself open. The moment you realize about the mistake, you can step back and ask yourself - Why did I make it at the first place? What are my blind spots? What should I do not to repeat it again? Figure out where exactly you went wrong. Take it as an opportunity to make your work, more smart and effective.

5.  Move On!

Finish the day and be done with it. - Emerson
You have to understand, it’s okay to make mistakes. All of us do it, from time to time. It’s not something that should have you crying yourself to sleep at night. Once you learn your lesson, you should get over and done with IT!  Just pay more attention!

Now when we have quoted all the great ones, let us wrap this up with a great line - Everyone makes mistakes but successful people actually turn their mistakes in their favor. You can do it too. All you need is an open, positive mind set – and some courage!

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