Mistakes Will Happen—Here’s How to Deal With Them

November 7, 2012
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Knowing that mistakes are inevitable allows you to prepare yourself and your employees on how to deal with a problem when one arises. Because when they do, it is all about how everyone responds after the fact. With that said, below you will find four tips for dealing with mistakes.

1. Accept What Happened And Apologize Immediately — You would be amazed at how quickly you can diffuse a situation or at least make it more manageable simply by owning up to your mistake. Ultimately, it is the right thing to do. But more than anything, it shows that you are willing to take full responsibility. Once you have apologized, admit your mistake to whomever you may need to. Honestly, the hardest part of making a mistake is dealing with why it happened in the first place, which is easier to do after you have apologized.

2. Maintain A Positive Attitude — Anger, frustration, and exasperation are negative emotions that just complicate matters further. They make it harder for everyone to focus clear-headedly and logically. So if or when something goes wrong, pause, take a deep breath, center yourself and calm down before making a bigger deal out of a problem.

3. Consult Others Before Dealing With Certain Issues — One common mistake people make, both in and out of the workplace, is trying to make it appear as though a mistake never happened in the first place. This is, without question, a bad idea. As previously mentioned in Tip 1, you should own up to your mistake right off the bat. From there, the most effective way to clear up a mistake completely is to consult your peers. Get feedback from your boss or people higher up. Their advice and assistance may prove extremely useful when developing (and later executing) your plan of action to resolve the issue.

4. Develop A Plan Of Action To Avoid Future Mistakes — The first instinct most people have when they make a mistake is to find a solution fast. Although a necessary course of action, your next move should be to find out why it happened and then develop a plan to avoid the mistake from happening again. Doing so could reveal faster, smarter ways to solve future mistakes.

As mentioned countless times, mistakes are unavoidable. Your business, not-for-profit or political office consists of people, and people slip up and make mistakes from time to time. When this happens, there are two ways to go about fixing things: Allow everyone to go into a chaotic, frenzied panic internally or to play it smart and develop a plan to work through the issues.

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