Mistakes happen, and they as much a part of professional life as they are in your personal life. Nine times out of 10, little missteps at work don’t require much in terms recovery. However, in bigger “oops” moments, how you handle the situation can set apart a mistake from a detrimental, career-altering error. Here is what you can do to gracefully recover from a professional mistake:
Fighting the panic that quickly builds up when you realize you made an error is a lot easier said than done. However, staying calm and keeping a clear head is essential in the first steps to recovery. If you panic, you might be saying things you don’t mean and making other mistakes on top of the one you’ve already made! Again, stay calm and cool to help set your recovery on the right foot.
Always, always, always own up to your mistake! Being dishonest or trying to pin it to the wrong person is the very worst thing you can do. Be responsible, apologize and repeat.
Own Your Part in Cleaning Up
Being accountable for an error is two-fold. First you own up to it, and then you own your part in fixing it. If it’s something you forgot to complete, make sure you do it. If it’s something you’ve done wrong, correct it. Your actions in making the situation right will speak louder than any apology.
Learn From It!
Mistakes make for very valuable lessons! However, you need to make sure you’re soaking in the take-aways to not only prevent it from happening again, but to help others avoid similar errors. Sometimes learning makes the mistakes worth it, because we evolve as professionals.
Mistakes at work are rarely the end of the world. If you keep this advice in mind, you will walk away from missteps as a better professional.
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