What we learnt from work fails

Mak­ing mis­takes is part of work­ing life – here’s how th­ese six suc­cess­ful women turned them around.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Contents -

Be the prob­lem solver “I used to iden­tify what was wrong and bring it to the at­ten­tion of my man­agers, but I’d for­get to come up with a way to ad­dress it. Man­agers are in­ter­ested in so­lu­tions, not prob­lems, and they will value and re­mem­ber you if you’re the one who comes up with a bet­ter ap­proach and don’t ex­pose the mis­takes of oth­ers.” – Chloe Macin­tosh, co-founder of an on­line fur­ni­ture store

Do not press send “Email has rev­o­lu­tionised the work­place, but the re­al­ity is that emails are all too easy to hide be­hind. I re­alised that when I chose face-to-face or picked up the phone, I of­ten had bet­ter con­ver­sa­tion, built use­ful re­la­tion­ships and usu­ally found I got some­thing more help­ful out of it.” – Gaby Bell, former chief strat­egy of­fi­cer of an ad­ver­tis­ing agency

Re­peat af­ter us: “No” “I’d al­ways say yes to tasks, re­gard­less of how many other dead­lines I had, and I’d get over­whelmed. As I be­came more con­fi­dent in my abil­i­ties, I gained the courage to ad­mit when I couldn’t do it all on my own. In­stead of look­ing like a fail­ure, I got much-needed sup­port.” – Cather­ine Thomas, lawyer and manag­ing di­rec­tor at a law firm

Check and check again “I was work­ing for a the­atri­cal agency when I gave a well-known client’s home ad­dress to some­one who said they were call­ing from a fa­mous de­part­ment store. It turned out to be a bo­gus call from a fan, who then camped out­side their house. It taught me that you should never as­sume any­thing – there can never be too much at­ten­tion to de­tail.” – Amanda Berry, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the BAFTAS Speak up “I didn’t speak up enough, as I didn’t think my ideas were good enough. I’ve learnt that shar­ing your ideas is key to show­ing what you can de­liver.” – Kerry Ban­ni­gan, CEO of an events and mar­ket­ing agency

Re­mem­ber your worth “In my first job, I felt a debt of grat­i­tude to the woman who hired me and she ex­ploited that, giv­ing me an un­re­al­is­tic work­load and even us­ing me for free babysitting. If some­one hires you, it’s be­cause you add to their prof­itabil­ity or ef­fec­tive­ness. You de­serve to be there, so set bound­aries.” – Afua Hirsch, writer and broad­caster

Robin (Co­bie Smul­ders) in How I Met Your Mother.

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