Workplace Mistakes Happen; Here’s How to Fix Them

“Everyone makes mistakes.” We’ve all heard this platitude.  But when you’re embroiled in a conflict your mistake caused, knowing “everyone” does it isn’t the most comforting news.

While some on-the-job mistakes are inevitable, how you handle them and how they affect your future in the organization is often within your control.

Here’s a quick-start guide to handling a mistake you’ve made in the workplace:

  1. Come clean.  Tell your supervisors about your mistake the moment you discover it, unless it is an insignificant, easily fixed error.  Be honest about the fact that you’ve made a mistake, what happened, and how you plan to fix the problem.
  2. Explain the plan.  Your plan for correcting the problem should be clear. When presenting your plan to your supervisor, explain approximately how long you think you’ll need to complete the plan and whether there are any costs involved.
  3. Take ownership.  Blaming and pointing fingers when a mistake occurs helps no one, and it makes you look as if you’re trying to shirk responsibility instead of stepping up to fix the problem.  Focus on the issue and how to fix it.  If someone else does share responsibility for the mistake, encourage him or her to take ownership of the problem and join in the solution as well.
  4. Apologize.  Take responsibility for your mistake, but don’t beat yourself up about it – especially in public.  Acknowledge that you messed up, then do your best both to correct the mistake and to prevent it from happening again. Taking action demonstrates that you’re proactive and committed to doing the job correctly, two qualities that reflect well on you in the long run.
  5. Use your own time.  If a mistake requires you to put in extra work hours to fix, don’t expect to be paid for that time.  Coming into work early or working over your lunch hour may also buy you the time you need to fix a problem – but don’t ask for extra compensation to fix a mistake you made.

If you’re looking to change careers or just take the next step on your career path, the experienced recruiters at THE RIGHT STAFF can help. Contact us today to learn more!

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