No one is perfect, not even me (hard to believe, right?). You are going to make mistakes in your professional life, some bigger than others, but it’s all about how you handle the situation that really matters. Whether you are the owner of a business or an intern, here are some business tips for handling screw ups and fixing mistakes.
Apologize and Take Ownership
While this might seem like a no brainer, it’s often forgotten about. When you have made a mistake, big or small, you are more concerned about fixing it when you need to take a step back and apologize. Tell your supervisor you are sorry. Often times that is all they really want to hear. Be genuine. Put away your pride and apologize for your mistake. After you have said you are sorry it’s time to own up to your wrong doing. If you manage a team and your team screwed up you are accountable for their mistakes. As easy as it is to say, “Well it’s not my fault, so-and-so didn’t do this, that and the other and that’s why we didn’t get the project done,” you can’t. In the professional world (and in life) you have to be accountable for your actions. Your boss or supervisor will have more respect for you if you apologize and own up to your mistake, than if you try to blame someone else.
Find a Solution
Not every mistake can be corrected, but there is always an opportunity to make things right. If you cannot physically correct your mistake it’s time to get creative. Use this as an opportunity to do something better. Did you send the wrong email to your customers by mistake? Use this as your chance to send them the right email, but also offer some sort of promotion or discount in the new email. Sometimes your screw ups at work will have to go uncorrected, but use this as a chance to show your boss how much you want to make the situation better by coming up with new ideas for your customers and the business.
Learn From Your Mistake
When we make mistakes at work we also learn valuable lessons. Screw ups and flubs in the work place are unfortunate, but they happen. Whether you need to write down specifically what you did wrong or you keep a mental note, remember what you did and don’t do it again. Did you mail a flyer with typos to your customers? Next time you decide to create a promotional flyer for your business, have more than one person look it over before it is printed. Your coworkers can also use your experience as a lesson in what not to do. Talk to your boss and come up with a way to make your mistake a teachable lesson to your coworkers. Making the same mistake twice shows a pattern in your work performance and will make your boss less likely to trust you. Don’t let this happen.
We’re all human and we all make mistakes. While screw ups in the work place are tough to deal with follow these simple to minimize the negative impact. Apologize, own up to the fact you made a mistake and offer suggestions to make things better next time.
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