Whether a minor mishap or massive mess-up, bouncing back from a workplace mistake is no easy feat. The reality is, no matter how on top of things you seem, we all slip up.
From a grammatical error in a presentation to missing a deadline or sending confidential information to a client, we’re bound to blunder every once in a while. What’s critical is how you react and your ability to recover and move forward afterwards. Here is a three-step recovery plan to help navigate your next workplace mistake:
1. Take Responsibility
It’s easy to become defensive and spout off panicked excuses or emails as to why a mistake transpired. We could argue that we had too much on our plate, communication between teams was lacking or flat out blame another person. However, instead of defending yourself as a first response, own the situation instead. Slow down and take the time you need to shift your mindset from totally freaked out to full on solution mode. This will ensure you communicate clearly and from a place of accountability, not hostility.
2. Problem Solve
We’ve panicked, acknowledged what happened, taken a deep breath and now it’s time for damage control. Rather than presenting a problem, come up with your top three, best possible fixes to your mistake. Depending on the situation and severity, a fact-driven email to your boss or team may suffice, but don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. They will appreciate your transparency and respect your proactive, solution-focused approach. They may take over from here or allow you to initiate the fix. Either way, taking accountability and identifying a potential remedy is key to recovery.
3. Learn From Your Workplace Mistake
Once the dust has settled, break down the situation and analyze what led up to the mistake. Identify ways to improve, whether that means more sticky notes and reminders or turning off auto-complete for the “To” field in your email. Apologize once your boss has had time to process what happened and provide insurance that you won’t let it happen again. Finally, forgive yourself. Don’t dwell on the mistake – keep working hard and prove to everyone that you’re confident and capable of moving forward.
Still reeling after a workplace mistake? Try our 4-Week Mental Reboot Challenge for a fresh start!