I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. At work, in business and in collaborations, the list goes on but as you already know, the long term effect of a mistake on your reputation and on your confidence can be limited if you take the right action ASAP.
Honesty is the best remedy for a mistake. Once you know you have messed up be honest. Sometimes you may take the risk and keep quiet on the basis that the mistake can be remedied but even in using your discretion, you should think about what the best thing to do in the situation is and that doesn’t mean what you think the best thing for you is. Once you admit a mistake has been made, it gives your team members, boss etc the chance to try and fix it. If you keep it to yourself, your mistake will reveal itself eventually anyway but trust me, it will always feel and look better if you fess up as soon as you can. Being honest will maintain the trust your boss or team members already have in you whereas if you hide something and get found out people won’t trust you and may not want to work with you again.
Taking responsibility is the next painful step. No matter whoever or whatever else you want to blame if a mistake is made on your watch it is your fault. It’s so much easier to blame someone else but quite frankly it’s annoying to listen someone’s excuses alone without them taking any responsibility. There may be other significant factors outside of your control which contributed to the mistake being made BUT an apology helps these factors go down much easier. Nobody wants to work with someone who doesn’t take responsibility for their actions and even worse, no one wants to work for someone who constantly covers their backs by blaming others. Be a team player, take responsibility and focus on resolving the problem not just covering your own back.
Everyone knows that the worst thing about making a mistake is making the same mistake again. Learn from what you have done. Don’t focus on what you have done wrong, focus on what you could do better. When you make a mistake or your work isn’t at the best standard ask yourself and ask those around you what you could do better next time. The feedback and personal evaluation may hurt but trust me, when you sit down and figure out how you need to improve, you won’t make the same mistake again.
The whole point of bouncing back from your mistakes is so that you can get better, develop trust and enjoy your work. Don’t be ashamed of your mistakes or believe that you aren’t good at what you do. Mistakes teach us the hard way but everyone makes them.
Don’t focus on the fall, focus on the come up.