All Women's Talk

7 Ways to Improve when You Mess up at Work ...

By Alison

When you mess up at work, you can go into a panic and think it'll mean the end of your job. You may be embarrassed that you've made a serious mistake and try to hide what you've done. That will only make things worse. Here's what to do when you mess up at work …

Table of contents:

  1. Don't hide it
  2. Put it right
  3. Ask for guidance
  4. Work hard
  5. Apologise
  6. Recognise your responsibility
  7. Be conscientious

1 Don't Hide It

When you mess up at work, the worst thing you can do is try to hide it. You'll look like you're trying to cover up your incompetence, and even if it's a genuine mistake, you'd do better to admit it. People will eventually find out who's responsible, and if you admit it, then you are showing that you're willing to be honest and admit your mistake.

2 Put It Right

Learning from your mistakes will be seen as being in your favor. We all make mistakes; the smart people work out how to avoid repeating their mistakes and how to get it right in the future. Being willing to put in the time to put right your mistake will show that you can learn and do better next time.

3 Ask for Guidance

Don't be afraid to ask for help and advice on how you can improve your performance in the future. If you messed up because you didn't actually understand what you were doing, then that's a clear sign that you need more training. Ask someone to show you how to do the task that you got wrong.

4 Work Hard

If you slip up, it will usually be forgiven if you show that you're keen to do better in the future. Put your head down and work hard to improve your performance and give a better impression. Good work will help to cancel out the fact that you've made a bad mistake previously.

5 Apologise

It's not going to help your case if you try to pretend that you haven't messed up or that your mistake doesn't really matter. The better option is to apologise for your mistake; you don't have to grovel but you should admit that you made a mistake. Trying to keep quiet in the hope that nobody will notice will make you look irresponsible and cowardly when the truth emerges - as it most likely will.

6 Recognise Your Responsibility

Nobody likes admitting - even to themselves - that they messed up. It's embarrassing. But you should be an adult and recognise your responsibility. Don't look for someone else to blame, unless you haven't been properly trained (you can't very well get something right if you haven't been shown how to do it).

7 Be Conscientious

Finally, be conscientious about your work from now on. This will show that you have the ability to learn and improve your performance. Do everything you can to perform well, including the little tasks. It may take a while for your mistake to be forgotten, but hopefully it will soon become old news.

When you make a serious mistake at work it can be worrying. You feel embarrassed and think that you'll never live it down. But we all make mistakes; the important thing is what you do to put it right (just make sure you don't do anything so bad that you bring down the company!). Have you ever done something embarrassing at work?

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