When You Mess Up
Most people would agree that screwing up at work is never a good feeling. The pit in the bottom of your stomach is a feeling all professionals know well, but prefer to avoid.
So what should you do if you mess something up? How should you handle it gracefully and humbly (and without making things worse)? It’s important not to panic, and to remember that nothing is permanent. In her article, Rachel Weingarten shares some of her best practices for what to do when it feels like you’ve made the mistake of the century at work. Here are some of our favorite points:
- Remain calm, and think of a plan: It’s never good to panic (or worse, cause a bit of a scene) because of your mistake. Take a deep breath, and take a moment to yourself if you need it. The calmer you are, the better your plan will be.
- Take it as a lesson: The most important thing about making a mistake is to learn from it! Therein lies the silver lining. Ask a coworker or mentor their thoughts on what you could have done differently. Most importantly, admit your mistake. Sugarcoating it to you coworkers (or worse, your boss) will only make matters worse and prevent you from actually learning from the situation.
- Be humble: Going off of the last point, it’s important to apologize to who needs an apology in the situation. Skirting this critical component of damage control will only make you look worse and won’t help the relationship with your coworkers, boss, client, etc. at all.