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How to Handle a Big Mistake at Work

April 19th, 2013

Little mistakes happen frequently.  We are, after all, human beings and as such we are flawed.  The small errors are usually easily fixed and but minor blips in an otherwise smooth work life.  But when you happen to make a big mistake, one that costs your company time and or money to fix, you need to handle it properly to control the damage to your reputation and safeguard your career.  Here are some things to consider should this ever happen to you.

  • Own it.  If you make an error, admit it immediately.  Go to your direct supervisor and report it as soon as you can so steps can be taken immediately to fix the problem.  Waiting and/or trying to cover it up will only make things worse for you once the error is discovered by someone else.
  • Apologize.  Admitting your error is only part of it.  You must also sincerely apologize for the mistake.  Don’t give excuses.  Don’t make any more out of it than is necessary.  Also, don’t beat yourself up for too long.  It’s ok to feel bad for a bit, but don’t wallow in self-pity.  It is counterproductive to your next step…
  • Bring solutions.  Once you discover your error, begin brainstorming on solutions and fixes.  Strive to understand the full scope of the mistake and take into consideration others that might be affected by it.  See it from all sides and work with your boss to tackle immediate responses as well as secondary ones to begin to remedy the issue.
  • Correct it.  Work hard to undo what you have done.  Be willing to put in extra hours and effort to see that you do everything possible to make things right.
  • Prevent future errors.  In other words, learn from the mistake.  Perhaps the fact that you made this error in the first place uncovers a need for some more checks and quality controls to be put in place.  Further, if you made this error, chances are that your colleagues could make the same one in the future, so work with your boss to protect the company from a repeat performance.

When you are looking for employment in warehousing or any light industrial field, make sure you call us at ERG Staffing Services.  We are the leader in warehouse staffing in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania markets and we are ready to place you in the right job to match your skills.

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