Making mistakes at work are bound to happen. No one can perform at an optimal level at all times in the workplace. However, when those mistakes do happen, it is vital that you handle the situation in the correct manner that will minimize negative repercussions to your job security and career advancement. This article will address several steps on how to tell your boss you’ve made a big mistake.
1. Take Responsibility
When we make mistakes, especially big ones, we have to take responsibility for our actions and own up to our blunders. If we don’t take responsibility for our actions, we’ll run into trouble; especially in the workplace. Hiding your mistakes from the boss will only look bad when the error becomes known. If you can get out in front of the mistake and take responsibility, you will increase your chances of receiving your boss’s understanding. Taking responsibility begins by having this mentality ingrained in your perspective at all times. If you don’t have this as part of your work ethic, you will be more likely to try and hide behind the mistake and cover it up.
2. Evaluate the Situation
The second step involves evaluating the situation, prior to speaking to your boss. Obviously, all of these steps need to occur quickly, depending on the severity of the mistake. However, you must handle the situation in a controlled manner rather than in erratic frustration. As you evaluate the damage of your mistake, maintain a clear head and focus on any positives from the situation. Stay calm and analyze the specific damage that has occurred or could occur. Be honest in your assessment. The more information you can provide to your boss, the better. If you can handle this issue with a calm attitude, your boss will be more impressed in your recovery skills than if you freak out and cause more damage.
3. Be Completely Honest
This may well be the hardest part in the process. It is important to be completely honest with your boss, manager or team members. When everyone involved is apprised of the gravity of the mistake, effective fixes can be implemented more quickly and cohesively. Remember to take responsibility and don’t direct blame on anyone else or make excuses for your actions. Your boss wants to know that you can be trusted. Being completely honest will continue to cultivate that trust in your working relationship, even when a mistake was made. This step will be stressful, but you need to try to maintain a calm attitude and focus on the positive outcome that will come from speaking the truth.
4. Implement a Plan
When you approach your boss with news of your mistake, it is vital that you have ideas in place to fix the issue and lessen the ramifications of the error. If you can come forward with an action plan to implement, you will boost your boss’s confidence level in your work ethic and performance. Employees who can work well while in a high-pressure situation are individuals that an employer will want to keep on in the workplace. Show your boss that you understand the ramifications of your mistake by having an effective action plan in place. If you don’t have a plan or any ideas on how to fix the issue, you will not impress your boss during this process.
5. Accept the Consequences
Regardless of how well you handle this situation; there will be consequences to your actions and the mistake you made. The real test is in how well you react and try to make the best of the situation. If you can hold yourself in exceptional control, you will have a clear head and be better able to accept the consequences of making that mistake. You must make sure that you are not oblivious to the possible consequences of your actions. Get ready for the possible repercussions and challenge yourself to gracefully accept them, while you work toward planning for the best outcome.
6. Redefine Your Future
This final step involves finding a way to redefine your future. One negative possibility of making a big mistake in the workplace is that you can get stuck in the error and never get beyond it. In order to be successful at work and renew your boss’s confidence level in your abilities, make every effort to forgive yourself. Once you can forgive yourself, you will be able to successfully move on in the workplace. Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Accept that you have made a mistake and make every effort to steer clear of blunders in the future.
Making mistakes in the workplace can become a major issue if they are not handled in the right way. If you follow the steps as outlined in this article, you will be able to tell your boss you made a big mistake and are trying to rectify the situation to achieve a positive outcome.