How to recover when you make a mistake at work

This year’s Oscars ceremony on Sunday won’t be forgotten anytime soon!  We all watched as the chaos ensued on stage when Best Picture was mistakenly first awarded to La La Land, instead of Moonlight.  Whilst those involved will probably want to lie low for a short time, the balloters in question will no doubt recover from this, as will PricewaterhouseCoopers.  This is their first blunder after 83 years of handling the ballot-counting for the iconic awards ceremony, and will probably be the last for some time.

Let’s face it, we’re all human, and we make mistakes. It can be tough time to ride through, but it’s really important to recover and handle your mistakes in a positive way. Here are some tips.

Take responsibility
Be upfront, and apologise at the earliest opportunity. If the mistake was made via email or other correspondence, make sure that you swiftly send an apology to everyone who may have been involved with or affected by the incident.

Remember that everyone is watching how you recover from this
You can learn a lot about someone by how they handle difficulties. Deal with it well and you could turn it around and come out stronger.  Demonstrate that you’re able to manage tough situations.

Don’t beat yourself up about it
None of us are perfect, so let it go.  Remind yourself of your strengths and achievements.

Don’t blame others, even if they’re partially to blame.
Whilst you normally wouldn’t be a martyr and take the blame for something you haven’t done, it’s never a good idea to drop someone in it either. If a colleague is to blame, the chances are they’ll be upfront and take the flack.

Do everything you can to put things right.
Be proactive and find a solution promptly and independently. Show that you really care about the company and your job.

Remember, everyone makes mistakes, and as awful as it feels when it happens, you will recover and your colleagues will move on.  In fact, if handled right, a mistake can do more to impress those around you than to damage you professionally.