Oops, I Messed Up. Now What?

“Uffda!! How did this happen?! How in the world am I going to fix this?” You’ve seriously messed up. Now, what are you going to do about it? Take a deep breath – here’s your 5-step recovery plan:

1) Before you face the music, pull yourself together and do a QUICK damage-control brainstorming session.

This is a chance to utilize your creativity. Don’t view this as anything but an opportunity to become an MVP and problem-solving expert. Plus, nobody wants you to enter your boss’s office without a ready-to-execute strategy in hand. Your manager might not be happy with what happened but at least they’ll appreciate that you’ve moved beyond “crisis mode” and have thought about finding a solution.

2) Put on your game face and schedule your one-on-one.

It’s time to own up. Maybe your mistake was epic or perhaps, it was just bad enough that you’ll need to come clean. But it’s not necessary to admit your mistake to the entire office: think about who really needs to be told and then ask for a few minutes of your supervisor’s time to discuss the blunder.

3) Don’t over-apologize.

Taking responsibility for an error is one thing but sacrificing yourself for it is entirely inappropriate. This is the time to solve the misstep so stop focusing on what you did wrong and get your team on board with your plan to fix it.

4) Always view a mistake as an opportunity to learn.

Keep this in mind: you can look back on your flub as having two very different story plots. In the first scenario, you make a mistake and do nothing about it while you wallow and let it drag you down. In the second scenario, you turn your faux pas into a brilliant opportunity, which actually leads to more opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible without your mistake. How would you prefer to remember this moment? Take your pick.

5) Bounce back and move on.

Your manager doesn’t want to continuously relive that time you messed up at your job. Once you’ve found a solution and executed your plan, seamlessly move on from the mistake. The only thing you should remember about the error is how to prevent similar situations in the future and that you’ve got an impressive ability to bounce back quickly!

We all make mistakes but how you handle them makes all the difference! To get more career advice and tips, plus the latest Twin Cities jobs and upcoming networking events, sign-up for the Celarity Scoop Newsletter!

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