How to Take the Blame for Your Mistakes at Work

Owning up to your mistakes is an important part of becoming successful in the workplace. If you don’t know how to take the blame and be responsible for the mistakes you make, you run the risk of stifling your personal growth and development and being disciplined by your manager. If you want to cultivate responsible behavior, there are several steps that you can implement at work. This article will address how you can take the blame for your mistakes at work.

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1. Accept the Blame

If you cannot admit that you were wrong and made a mistake, you won’t get very far in this process. The first step is to be a responsible adult and own up to your actions. Immature individuals do not realize the value of admitting their mistakes and would rather try to blame someone else for what went wrong. However, taking that first step of admitting your mistake will enable you to complete the process and fully embrace invaluable personal growth and development from the situation. Accepting the blame for your mistakes at work involves the following steps.


  • Ownership – Own up and admit the specific mistake that you made at work.
  • Acceptance – Accept that you will need to face the consequences for your actions.

2. Expand Your View

During this process of taking the blame for your mistakes at work, you need to work on expanding your view. For example, your mistake could have an impact on one person or many individuals. You may have negatively impacted an important project that your team was working on. Whatever you did, it is vital that you expand your mindset to realize how far reaching the consequences will be. Consider the following when expanding your view.

  • Mindset – Understand that your actions (good or bad) have consequences at work.
  • Connection – Connect with those that you negatively impacted and apologize.

3. Take Positive Action

Taking the blame for your mistakes does not end with admission and expansion of your mindset. Both steps are relevant and important, but they also need to be combined with you taking positive action to make the things right. If you only complete half the process, you will not receive the maximum return on your personal growth investment. The main point of taking the blame for your mistakes is to learn and grow from them so that you don’t make the same mistake twice. Consider the following steps when taking positive action to rectify the situation.

  • Clarity – Understand why and how the mistake happened so that it won’t be repeated.
  • Sincerity – Genuinely connect with those you hurt and make an effort for restitution.
  • Expression – Say the words “I’m sorry” and truly mean them so that others believe you.

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You need to realize that even after you accept the blame, expand your view and take positive action—there may still be consequences for your mistake. For example, you could be fired if the mistake was extreme behavior. The consequences could be simpler like being removed from a team project. Even if neither of those two extremes occurs, you will most likely have to deal with the consequences of your coworkers’ and manager’s own thoughts and emotions. Depending on the severity of the mistake, it could take time for your colleagues to trust you again with serious work projects, tasks and issues. However, you need to remember that if you view this situation as a learning opportunity, dealing with the aftermath will be easier.

Have you ever taken the blame for a mistake at work? Was it a good or bad experience?