You made a mistake at work. Now what?

by Ask a Manager on May 19, 2008

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How do you handle it when you’ve botched something? First, you need to know what happens in your manager’s head when you make a mistake. Beyond thinking about the repercussions of the mistake itself, she’s worrying about what it means for the larger picture: Did the mistake happen because of sloppy work habits or was this one isolated incident? Is there a fundamental problem with your systems or approach to the work? Do you “get” that this is a big deal, or are you shrugging it off and thus likely to let something similar happen in the future?

Once you understand this, the formula for handling a mistake well becomes more intuitive.

And if you want to read that formula, check out the full post, which is posted at U.S. News and World Report.

{ 3 comments }

Ask a Manager May 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Hi Andreas. What an odd accusation. I’ve actually never seen your blog before, but I’m sure there are many people giving advice on this sort of topic. In fact, I wrote about it back in January too, before it looks like you made your own post on it (see http://askamanager.blogspot.com/2008/01/what-to-do-when-you-make-mistake-at.html ).

Andres V Acosta May 20, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Mud on my face … I am completely embarassed by my premature overreaction. My apologies.

Anonymous May 20, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Well Done, both of you. It is very seldom we see two parties acting nice.

GLH

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