Everybody makes mistakes and sometimes we can make big mistakes. It’s happened to me and I know that feeling when you first realized you screwed up big time and that horrible knot in your stomach that your left with. Today I’ve got 3 tips that are surefire ways to get you back on track as quickly as possible
Number One: Try to get to your boss right away. Couple things could happen. It’s possible your boss has encountered this situation before and they might have a solution for you to make it go away or perhaps it’s not the big deal you think it is. A made an $80K mistake on a bid once and I was sick about it. However, when I went to my boss with my tail between my legs, he told me it wasn’t a big deal and had I not made that mistake, we wouldn’t have won the bid. What actually happened is because we were low bidder, we were able to negotiate with the customer, recover from the error and keep the business. What you don’t want is your coworkers or customers filling in your boss before you do. The boss is caught off guard and they are not getting your version of the story and they are likely getting ticked off. The minute you are made aware of your error, you need to get face time with your boss immediately. If need be, call him or her on the phone to explain. Own your mistake…do not start pointing fingers or making light of the situation. A lack of accountability on your part is the quickest way to lose your boss’s trust. Put your big boy or big girl pants on, own up to it and explain. If at all possible, if the immediate problem is still unresolved try to present some solutions to fix it.
Number 2: Show them that you’ve already put a system in place so it never happens again. Say you missed a deadline, show them that you put together a system in your calendar so you get pop up reminders so you can’t forget. In my story about the bid, even though it had a happy ending, I explained that I implemented a buddy system so someone else would check over bids before we submit. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can spot things you missed. Most people are forgiving of a first time mistake. If you can show in no uncertain terms, that you are taking this very seriously and taking steps so it never happens again, your boss will hopefully be ready to move on.
Number 3: Reach out to the boss’s favorite. If you have a peer who is respected and recognized as a top performer, try to meet with them. Let them know that you made this mistake and you never want it to happen again. Let them know that you recognize them as a top performer always producing excellent work. Everybody loves to hear that and they’ll be way more inclined to help you. This will hopefully create two possibilties. One, you may receive some vital training, tips or advice from this person that will help you improve. And just as important, this person will likely report to the boss that you seem to be working dilligently to improve which will be music to your boss’s ears.
Depending on the gravity of your mistake, just know that most employers don’t want to get rid of their employees if they are trying hard to improve. Hiring and training new employees is a pain in the butt, and it costs them money to recruit and recover from lost productivity. Usually the best thing to do, as I stated is own the mistake, show efforts to improve and get your nose to the grindstone and work hard. In no time, your mistake will become a faint memory.
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