It's not a matter of "if" you will make a mistake at work, it's only a question of "when," and how you handle the blunder says a great deal about your character and good judgment. Conducting yourself with integrity and honesty shows your coworkers and boss you are driven to do the right thing. Here a few tips for the next time you make an office faux pas:
- Remain calm. Resist the urge to leap immediately into damage control. Spend a few minutes determining the most appropriate next steps. One mistake can easily snowball if you proceed in a panic.
Admit the mistake. Waiting and hoping your mistake goes unnoticed is a recipe for disaster if someone discovers it first. A major incident needs to be addressed and dealt with by notifying the proper channels. Avoid the urge to pass the buck. Even if the screw-up was squarely on the shoulders of someone else, if you are a supervisor and it happened on your watch, it's on you. Identify ways to keep it from reoccurring in the future, and clearly communicate the message to your entire team. Apologize. However prompt and professional you are in trying to fix your error, an apology is still important. Whether it's to coworkers, a client, or your supervisor, a verbal and authentic apology conveys sincerity and regret over any inconvenience the mistake may have caused. It also displays humility and strength of character. Decide who needs to get involved. Discussing your mistake with coworkers who are not in a position to fix the problem only wastes valuable time. Strategically choose those who need to know, and request their input and assistance.Move ahead. The perfectionists among us can be easily crushed by a setback. Do what is needed to recover, review the lesson learned, then shake it off and move forward. While a professional blunder is never pleasant, it can be used as a powerful and motivational training tool.
- Stop talking about it. It is human nature to drone on and on about a mistake that caused embarrassment to yourself and others. Fight the urge to ruminate, and put your energy into a conversation that will result in a successful outcome. You will definitely be remembered by your last mistake if you keep reminding everyone about it!
For more tips read, Business Etiquette: Rebounding from Failure. Visit Diane's blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and, "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.