As individuals, teams, and organizations, we tend to talk about our successes. Rightfully so, it is important to acknowledge when we have met objectives, project deadlines, and goals.

We probably spend less time, in a public setting anyway, talking about our mistakes. We don’t want to dwell on past errors or agonize over these things, however, there is value in reflecting on the mistakes we have made to help us grow.

We all make mistakes, and our reflection can help us avoid making the same mistake again in the future. But, how do we handle a mistake in the moment? How do we navigate through both the impact to our working relationships and the work itself?

We suggest three key actions to take if you have made an error or mistake in your work:

1. Own up to it and be accountable

Nobody likes being responsible for making an error, but if we own up to our mistake, we demonstrate integrity. We also can move forward with constructive action sooner, since nobody is spending time trying to assign fault or figure out who made the mistake.

2. Apologize, to whom it is appropriate, when it is appropriate

Nobody likes being responsible for making an error, but if we own up to our mistake, we demonstrate integrity. We also can move forward with constructive action sooner, since nobody is spending time trying to assign fault or figure out who made the mistake.

Just to be clear, owning up to a mistake is not the same as apologizing. By apologizing we can demonstrate that we are owning the mistake and that we are sorry for any of the negative consequences. People may still be angry or frustrated, but we are making a good faith effort to repair any trust or confidence we may have damaged with the error.

3. Take whatever steps you can to correct the error, quickly

Owning up to it and apologizing are important, so is taking quick action to work to recover or fix the error. While we can’t take back the error, we can put in extra effort to fix the mistake. The work we do to fix the mistake can help mitigate or improve people’s overall perception of us.

It isn’t a question of if, it is a question of when we will make a mistake. Our response and follow up immediately afterward go a long way towards restoring trust and confidence, and ultimately the strength of our working relationships. Taking these three steps will help ensure you are proactively working to repair any negative consequences, and not being a victim of your own error.

Subscribe Here!