Mistakes at Work

Mistakes at Work

  • Most people unconsciously overreact about their mistakes.
  • It is much better to accept mistakes, learn from them, and move on.
Michelle E. (@micee) - Profile Photo

@micee

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Communication

hbr.org

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When making mistakes

Do:

  • Admit and accept responsibility. 
  • Demonstrate that you have learned. 
  • Show that you can still be trusted in the future. 

Don't 

  • Be defensive or blame your colleagues. 
  • Make mistakes that break trust. 
  • Hold back, and stay persistent.
Make use of your support network

A healthy support network is beneficial if it has authentic trusting relationships, has a varied range of perspectives, and follows the 'give and take rule'.

Admit and acknowledge your mistake
  • It’s critical to be transparent, and candid own up to the mistake, and not blame others.
  • Even if it was a group mistake, acknowledge your role instead of hiding.
  • In cases where someone was hurt, issue an apology, but don’t apologize too much, or be defensive.
  • The key is to be action-oriented and focus on the future. 
No two mistakes are alike
  • Mistakes are always unique and different, and some can be tough to recover from.
  • Mistakes that involve breaking someone’s trust are harder to recover from.
  • It is advisable to issue a sincere apology and be patient.
Get Back out there
Try to get back and rebuild your confidence, by focusing on the future, with a resilient attitude.
Perseverance is the key to getting back in the game.

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RELATED IDEAS

Learning from mistakes

You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you've made it.

Don't start blaming other people (or the universe) for the things that go wrong, because you distance yourself from any possible lesson. 

Acknowledge your mistakes

Never try to cover up or blame others for what went wrong. If you messed up, admit it and own it. 

Admitting your mistakes earns you the respect of those you lead and makes your leadership human.

Humor is a great psychological tool to get and keeping people on your side. Use it wisely, and use it often—especially when you screw up.

The next time you find yourself staring out at a crowd of people who just saw you make a huge mistake—and they know it was a mistake—don’t ignore it. Don’t try to cover it up. Don’t nervously apologize over and over. Use humor.

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