How to Handle a Mistake at Work

Have you ever made a big mistake at work, and thought you would never recover? Don’t worry—we’ve all been there! And believe it or not, even the biggest mistakes will be forgotten with time. So, when you make a mistake at work, what do you do?

First and foremost, accept responsibility and tell your boss as soon as possible. Don’t let your fear of getting in trouble keep you from admitting a mistake. The sooner you can start mitigating the issue, the better off you will be. Reasonable bosses will understand that human errors occur, and they have made mistakes before too. The mistake is going to come to light either way, and the longer you put off talking to your boss, the worse you’ll look. Don’t deflect blame, accept responsibility for your part in the mistake. If you get defensive or point fingers, you will only look worse.

Next, it’s important to come up with a plan to prevent this mistake from reoccurring. Get with your co-workers or boss to come up with a more effective and efficient process. You should present your plan to your boss, so that he or she understands you are taking the mistake seriously and taking steps to avoid it in the future. This will show initiative, and maybe it will even help prevent your coworkers from making the same mistakes, which will in turn improve productivity and make you look even better in the long run.

Sometimes mistakes are the best ways to learn and improve. Don’t be scared of making mistakes. As long as you handle a mistake correctly at work, all will be forgiven, and may even improve.