As anyone in the working world knows, serious issues can arise from time to time, and mistakes can occur on a daily basis. Often this can lead to additional work, consequences, and/or losing face in the workplace. Needless to say, realizing you made a mistake, or having to deal with someone else’s, can be very frustrating, and this tends to be misdirected towards those around us, creating tension in the workplace. How we deal with challenges when it arises is completely within our control. Here are some tips for managing most situations:
1) Keep cool
The vast majority of the time, a mistake truly is an accident and nothing more. A one-time incident isn’t indicative of who you are as a person, but how you handle the situation is. Keeping a calm, professional manner can go a long way.
2) Listen intently
It’s not uncommon for people to panic a bit when they learn they’ve made a mistake or must help someone else fix theirs, and as a result the mind starts to wander to try to fix the problem as soon as possible. While this is certainly beneficial, it can also make one miss important information being provided. Listen intently and jot down notes for you to reference later. It’s best to stay on topic even if you have other things you need to talk to them about, and make sure the person knows you understand the importance of this issue.
3) Step away
Once you learn about the issue, it’s best to leave the room and take a 5 minute break to get some fresh air and clear your mind. Often when we are swept up in the moment we can let stress and negative self talk take over, leaving us upset and in a bad headspace. If you’re not sure what to do, you can turn to your supervisor or co-workers for advice.
4) Be thorough
Figuring out exactly what went wrong within the system for handling the task will greatly help you decide how to proceed. For example, if you find one of the steps in the process was forgotten or done incorrectly, you will then know if other tasks need to be corrected as well, and can also evaluate the steps for way to improve on the process and prevent further mistakes. Being efficient in correcting the issue and providing ways to ensure it won’t happen again shows you take responsibility and are actively working to make the office systems better.
5) Remember there’s always a solution
A particular problem may seem daunting or impossible to fix, but it’s important to remember that providing the best solution is key! When you are very close to the situation you may not be able to see it, so consulting others in your office or field can be helpful in these situations. It’s also nice to know that people are willing to help you, and may have even experienced something similar before.
In conclusion, these simple tips can have a profound impact on both your own confidence and your workplace’s confidence in you to handle issues with professionalism and maturity.