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We’ve all made mistakes at work before. If you dropped the ball on an important project, or done something to lose credibility and trust at work, there are steps you can take to build it back.
After you’ve done the basics (you apologized, you owned up to your mistakes, and hopefully learned from it), the author suggests taking the following steps:
It’s important to understand that when employees “fail,” it’s often because they don’t meet the expectations that were set for them. You can avoid this by making those expectations clearer from the start of your next project. Kick it off by ensuring that you and all of the stakeholders are on the same page.
Asking probing questions will help you identify your goals and ensure that you have the support and resources you need to reach them.
Namely, you will want to find out:
When you fail to meet someone’s expectations at work, you may feel the need to prove yourself the next time you work with them. If you’re not careful, this can lead to you overcompensating and taking on more than you can realistically handle. A better strategy is to under-promise and over-deliver.
When you’re coming from a level of damaged trust, exceeding promises has the potential to rebuild credibility and positively impact a damaged reputation.
Once you set expectations and establish clear objectives and timelines, shift your focus to accomplishing small, quick wins. In a study surveying over 5,400 newly promoted leaders and their managers, the one attribute that stood out among high performers was a strong focus on results.
A collective quick win — a visible, high-impact contribution that adds measurably and meaningfully to the success of a project, and therefore, to the success of your team — can rebuild your reputation as a high performer and reassure your manager and teammates of your value.
Take a step back every couple of months to assess whether you’re making progress. The amount of time it takes to fully rebuild your reputation will vary based on a host of factors, like your manager’s personality, the magnitude of the previous failure, and more. But in those check-ins you have with yourself, you need to see progress. It can be slow and incremental, but it needs to be there.
Broken trust and credibility are one of the hardest things to regain in any relationship. Be patient with yourself, and give yourself some grace. We all make mistakes. We should all be given the opportunity to redeem ourselves and use our failures as milestones for our development. With a concerted effort of intentional, strategic actions, it’s possible to regain trust — from others and from yourself.
"Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste. " ~ Benjamin Franklin
Getting up from the fall.
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