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Owning Up to Your Mistakes at Work

Posted on 11/27 by Erin Helms

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Mistakes will happen, and they are part of every career and every industry. The trick is not to let them derail your career. You can turn mistakes into learning opportunities for becoming a better employee. It is essential to own up to mistakes. Doing so strengthens professional relationships, demonstrates integrity, helps you develop new skills, and helps to improve confidence. Learning to be accountable at work and owning up to your mistakes will help to enhance your professional image while strengthening your relationships at work. Here is how to be responsible at work.

Keep the Mistake in Perspective

Keeping things in perspective when upset with yourself over a mistake is challenging. You must try to keep your emotional response proportional to the blunder. Most errors at work are not life-or-death situations. You can fix a mistake.

Forgive Yourself

Mistakes at work can leave you feeling embarrassed, worried or frustrated. It would help if you took time to acknowledge what happened and then let it go. Pull yourself up and realize you are not perfect, which is OK.

Take Responsibility

Understanding what happened is crucial, but do not make excuses. Take responsibility. Apologize to all affected parties and promise to do better moving forward. Do not blame co-workers or circumstances. Own up to your mistake, but also display confidence. If your manager offers advice, listen and remain open to their suggestions.

Try to Set Things Right

Create a plan to set things right by undoing the damage. Be sure to communicate the plan. If the mistake causes a ripple effect out of your control, let your boss and co-workers know you want to help. It could involve taking on part of their projects. Making things right will help you rebuild your accountability and trust.

Consider What You Are Learning From the Experience

You can learn much from mistakes, and the experience often reveals hiccups in your process. Consider what you can do differently or what works. Learning from mistakes can help you become more careful in the future. Ask associates for feedback on how you could have avoided this blunder. Discuss the error with your boss.

Move On

Get back to work and do not dwell on the mistake. It is one moment among many successful ones. Return to work with new insights and apply them. This one mistake does not need to derail your career. Remain focused on your self-improvement and restoring the confidence of your team. Failure is very much a part of life, and it is your response to it that demonstrates your professionalism and resilience.

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