Ev­ery sin­gle per­son read­ing this ar­ti­cle has made a mis­take at work. If it’s a large mis­take you might need to start over again with your work col­leagues. And whether a lot of time has passed or just a lit­tle, Ali­son McGavin ex­plains what you need to do t

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS - Ali­son McGavin

Busi­nesses suc­ceed be­cause they re­cover from the mis­takes peo­ple make, not be­cause no­body ever does any­thing wrong.

No one likes to be re­spon­si­ble for mis­takes. How­ever, if you’ve stuffed up at some point, and your man­ager is not happy with you, dust your­self off be­cause there is good news; mis­takes, even big ones, don’t have to leave a per­ma­nent mark on your ca­reer.

Here are some steps to gain back your man­ager’s trust and per­haps in­crease the re­spect in the mean­time.


The blun­der has hap­pened and, no mat­ter what you do, you can’t change that. The most im­por­tant part of mak­ing a mis­take is how quickly you own it. This will keep the col­lat­eral dam­age to a min­i­mum. Hid­den prob­lems be­come se­ri­ous threats!

Tell your man­ager straight away, but don’t make it about you. Keep it to the facts and don’t make ex­cuses. Ex­plain how it hap­pened and try to have a cou­ple of po­ten­tial so­lu­tions pre­pared to show that you’re work­ing to­wards re­pair­ing it and en­sur­ing it doesn’t hap­pen again. Re­mem­ber – busi­nesses suc­ceed be­cause they re­cover from the mis­takes peo­ple make, not be­cause no­body ever does any­thing wrong. There are right and wrong ways to apol­o­gise! Your man­ager is up­set that this mis­take has oc­curred and so it’s only right to apol­o­gise to those who have been let down. Your apol­ogy needs to be in three parts – ad­mit­ting the mis­take, say­ing sorry and ac­knowl­edg­ing what needs to be done dif­fer­ently in the fu­ture.


Don’t hand the prob­lem over. It’s your mess-up and you’ve owned it, so now you must fix it. Sure, you might need help and it’s okay to ask for that help, but let it be known that you want to rec­tify this; you want to fig­ure it out your­self. This will help you not re­peat the er­ror in the fu­ture. The faster you en­gage in own­ing a mis­take and in re­pair­ing it, the more quickly your man­ager will stop think­ing about the mis­take and who made it in the first place.


Take the time to truly think about what steps led to the mis­take and what could have been done to avoid it. What can you do dif­fer­ently? Re­flec­tion can of­ten be eas­ier when some time has passed; as they say, hind­sight is a won­der­ful thing.

Re­flect­ing might make you aware that there are pat­terns in your per­for­mance or be­hav­iour that con­trib­ute to these er­rors. Once you re­alise that, you can then ad­dress how you might change, or put mea­sures in place to pre­vent the same mis­take oc­cur­ring again. Would im­ple­ment­ing an ideal week en­sure that you don’t miss that task? Or per­haps you need to be more or­gan­ised or fol­low check­lists. Find out what works for you and make it eas­ier for your­self by im­ple­ment­ing the so­lu­tion.


At one time or an­other the high­est-per­form­ing teams are those that make the most mis­takes! The dif­fer­ence is that these high-per­form­ing teams share their mis­takes and the so­lu­tions so that ev­ery­one, not just you, learns and grows be­yond them.

Fol­low­ing the above steps af­ter a mis­take is cru­cial, but it’s what you do from there on in that will pre­serve the trust you’ve worked so hard to build. Not only are you al­lowed to make mis­takes, you’re ex­pected to; but now when that hap­pens you’ll know ex­actly what to do to keep the dam­age to a min­i­mum. •

Ali­son McGavin is a Se­nior Re­cruit­ment Con­sul­tant with Real+. For more in­for­ma­tion visit re­

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