5 ways to recover from mistakes in the workplace

Business News | 17 Mar |

We all know the saying, “nobody is perfect,” but in the workplace, we aim to be. What happens when you make a mistake? How should you react? What should you do?

Sharon Schweitzer, a former employment attorney and cross-cultural trainer, who is founder and CEO of Access to Culture, offers five polite ways to recover from mistakes within the workplace:

1. The escape plan

Whether it’s a meeting or a presentation, allow plenty of time to use the bathroom and get a coffee beforehand. If you forget, be smart and discreet.

• A simple “excuse me,” will do

• Enter quietly without your cell phone or turn it off

• Use the back or side entrance, as opposed to the front

• Sit in the back of the room if you are worried about causing a distraction

2. Workplace relations

When we work with someone we don’t like, it can be stressful. However, creating an amicable team atmosphere warrants a better experience.

• Remain professional and keep your emotions in check

• Get to know your coworker better. Sometimes learning new traits or understanding how they work can help

• If significant issues arise in the workplace, address them immediately with HR

3. Missing an approaching deadline

As you look at your calendar, you realize that the assignment is due tomorrow. You’re going to miss your deadline, but there’s still hope. Try these tips to minimize conflict with the boss:

• Accept responsibility

• Notify them immediately that you cannot meet the deadline and thoroughly explain your reasons

• Immediately and sincerely apologize to your supervisor in person

• Suggest possible solutions and ask if you may begin to implement them

• Create calendar alerts or timeline of how this can be avoided in the future

• Set alarms on your phone and be strict with your time management skills to avoid the same mistake in the future

4. Honest mistake

Business professionals make mistakes. It can be embarrassing to admit the truth, but confronting mistakes immediately helps in the long run.

• Don’t try to hide your mistake

• Own up and accept responsibility

• Don’t blame others for your mistake

• Apologize and learn from it

• Move forward and continue to do good work to build trust with your coworkers and boss

5. Wardrobe malfunction

Whether your trousers or skirt accidentally rip or your neckline is too revealing, it’s important to maintain a professional appearance in the workplace. Here are some tips to avoid awkward wardrobe malfunctions:

• Research the workforce wardrobe culture before the interview

• Carefully read the written dress code policy, and observe the unwritten code; follow them

• Pack an extra top and bottom, just in case of a coffee spill

• Before you head out the door, ask yourself if your attire is suitable to meet your significant other’s family members

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