What to Do After Making a Mistake at Work | Golden Rules Gal

Jan, 17, 2022

Did you miss a deadline or come to a meeting unprepared? We all make mistakes in life, but recovering from them is the key to success. Often, we make them without even being aware of them, such as wiping your nose with your napkin at lunch or forgetting to make an important introduction. Actions speak louder than words, so if you’ve had a lapse in judgment, own up to it and move on.

At my first job after college, I remember my boss telling me, “it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to bring it down.” If you want to keep yours intact, here are a few tips on what to do after making a mistake at work:

  • DO own up to your mistake. It’s ok to be ashamed or embarrassed.
  • DO fix the mistake before it’s too late.
  • DO offer a solution for the mistake.
  • DO ask your boss for a meeting to explain, not complain.
  • DO access what happened and what not to do in the future.
  • DON’T blame others; take responsibility.
  • DON’T minimize the mistake.
  • DO keep things in perspective.

Me at 30 working as a “frazzled” aide to Kevin Shelley, former SF Board of Supervisors President.

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