Mistakes on the job are bound to happen, we’re all human. But the way you handle it is more telling than the mistake itself. Your reaction to any problem is what people will judge the most, so make it count. Whether you sent a risky message and hit ‘reply all’, or mixed up the seating arrangements at an important event – remember that you always have options when it comes to damage control.
Know who to call:
You’re probably in a panic and immediately want to contact your supervisor on a whim. Instead, take a breather and consider who to call. There’s no point in notifying your supervisor when it may be more suitable for human resources. Making the wrong call might make you come across as needy and impulsive. If you’re not sure, then asking a colleague for advice may give you better direction.
Be upfront and solution-oriented:
Never try to save face and cover your mistake, or throw someone else under the bus. This is one sure way to make yourself come across as untrustworthy. Simply stick to the facts and let them know how you will fix this. Remember, one solid solution will always trump a thousand apologies. People in charge already know that you’re sorry, but apologies don’t bring results.
Put it in perspective:
Use hindsight to your advantage after making a mistake. Think about your level of preparedness up to the point that the mistake occurred. Was there anything that could have been avoided? Would a better mindset have helped? After considering factors like these and you’ve come to realize you made the best decision in the amount of time you had, then you can only learn from it and move on.
Make sure you learn a lesson from it:
It’s no doubt that we all want to forget our mistakes, but what good are they if we don’t learn from them? Every mistake you don’t learn from is one that’s bound to be repeated. That’s not to say you should spend too much time ruminating over them, but do look back on this mistake in a healthy amount so that you learn from it. Draw upon what you’ve learned and use them as tools for next time.