by Andie Radford
To err is human, but for those of us lucky enough to hold on to our jobs in this uncertain economy, the thought of making a major mistake at work is, well…unthinkable.
Making a mistake at work can be a most unpleasant experience. Depending on the severity of the error and the stakes involved, making an error can result in embarrassment, humiliation and a temporary loss of credibility. The key to recovering from a big mistake at work is in your response to it.
The first thing to do after making an error is to accept responsibility for it. Some people make the mistake of denying responsibility and waste time placing blame on others. This approach only prolongs the reparation process and increases frustration. Accepting responsibility for an error takes courage, but demonstrates a high level of professionalism and is critical in regaining personal credibility.
Once you accept responsibility for the error, take the time to reflect: What went wrong? Why did this happen? What could or should have been done differently? Use this information to put a corrective action plan into place. The nature of the error determines the plan. Sometimes mistakes are relatively minor and cause minimal damage or inconvenience. The appropriate thing to do in this case is to apologize, briefly explain how the error will be corrected, and move on. Resist the urge to apologize repeatedly. An over-abundance of self-incrimination is never impressive….