Mistakes on the Job

December 12th, 2017

Yes, it happens. We all make mistakes on the job – sometimes small and sometimes mammoth, costly, they-will-never-forgive-me mistakes. It’s not about making the mistake; it’s about how we handle it. And what is the proper response?

Stay calm and evaluate the situation.

  • Is the mistake easily corrected?
  • Will it involve others or can you handle it alone?
  • Are there long-term consequences?
  • Does it require an immediate stop-the-presses response to prevent more damage?

So – if it’s easily fixed and will leave little or no debris in the wake; fix it and go on.

Next level – it can be fixed, may leave some debris, and probably will require help. Determine who needs to know and who needs to be involved in the correction. Be upfront and honest. It sounds something like this:

“I made a mistake. I ____________________. Possible repercussions include _______________. After evaluating the situation, I believe it will take this to fix the problem, but I will need help from so and so. Do you agree or am I missing something? Will you be willing to help me? I realize your time is valuable and I apologize for the trouble I’m causing.”

The essentials include an admission of guilt, presentation of your solution, request for help, and an apology for the trouble you’ve caused and the loss of their time. If your supervisor should know, choose an opportune moment, quietly inform them what happened and what you did to correct it.  If the mistake requires help from several sources, and cost the company some money; make an offer of restitution.

The biggie – the top dogs need to know now. Processes have to be shut down. Extensive action has to be taken immediately. You get the picture. Pull the fire alarm, but remember, a calm response is much more effective than panic. Get busy and don’t stop until the problem is contained. Be prepared for a showdown and take it like a professional. Never say “mistakes were made.” Lay it on the line, “I totally screwed up, and I don’t have words to express my regrets, but I will do all I can to make this right.”

In every instance, the keys are simple: Admit it. Take responsibility. Be sincerely sorry. Have a plan and follow through. Accept the consequences.

If you’re looking for a new job, contact Olympic Staffing. We can help you find a new job that is a good fit for your skills, education level, and current job goals. Our network is deep and wide – let us help you.