How to Overcome Mistakes at Work

by | 15.02.24

Making small mistakes at work, like not attaching the correct document to an email before sending it is very common. If you have made a mistake at work and feel embarrassed or ashamed of it there are some steps you can take to rectify the issue. Here are some tips:

Put things into perspective

Feeling upset with yourself can make it difficult for you to maintain a positive perspective when it comes to mistakes at work. Ensure your response to the error is in proportional to the size of the mistake. It’s important not to panic over small issues. Many mistakes are resolvable immediately or soon after the error occurs.

What’s the worst-case scenario

Mistakes usually come with some form of consequence, whether it be in your personal life or at work. Sometimes it can be easy to exaggerate and distort what the consequences would be for your mistake. This can spiral into stress and panic which can cause you to make even more errors moving forward. So keep things into proportion.

Apologise to those who matter

If you’ve made a mistake you need to apologise to those who matter, try to do this as quickly as possible. It’s important that you take accountability for the mistake and let your boss know you are going to correct it as soon as you can. In most cases this is all you do, try not to make excuses just acknowledge your error and then move on.

Plan for the next time

While you may hope that there isn’t a next time it’s likely that you may make more than one mistake throughout your career. Identify what went wrong this time and take steps to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again. It’s a good idea as well to tell your boss how you are going to stop similar mistakes from happening in the future.

Take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself is key to avoiding mistakes at work. A lack of sleep for instance can cause you to make mistakes. This is because it can affect your concentration and your ability to solve problems. Avoiding making mistakes has a direct link with taking care of both your physical and mental wellbeing.

Earn back trust

If you feel that you’ve lost some of your workmates trust because of your mistake this is something you can work on. Be honest and open with them and ask for help if you need it. If you are on your game most of the time the occasional minor error is usually quickly forgiven and forgotten.

Change the way you work

You can always try to adapt your work style to find a routine that works best for you. If you find yourself rushing to meet deadlines you may want to get into work a bit earlier some days or work late, that way you are less likely to rush things and make silly mistakes.

Set some goals

Setting goals for yourself can be a great motivator and help put mistakes into perspective. In a busy workplace your boss may not always be able to take the time to congratulate you. Setting your own goal and setting up a reward system for when you achieve them forces you to focus on the positives and not past mistakes you have made.

Learn new skills

A mistake can push you into learning a new skill. For example if you made a spelling mistake in an important document you can work on improving your proof reading skills. You may also want to work on your typing skills as this can help eliminate future errors.

Chance your career

If you continue to make the same mistakes and find the tasks at work too complex or boring it could be the time to change your career. Many people make the decision to change careers after making major mistakes that change the way they see their job. A career change can be a great opportunity to explore your interests and have new experiences with a new team of colleagues.

So the moral of this blog is we are all capable of making mistakes, it’s the way we deal with them that matters.

Good Luck

Angela Burton