What we learnt from work fails
Making mistakes is part of working life – here’s how these six successful women turned them around.
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.