7 Ways To Respond After Messing up at Work

We’ve all experienced the anxiety of having to admit a mistake at work. We might be scared to tell our manager or anxious about how our error might affect the company. However, making mistakes is completely normal and should be seen as a learning experience. This article aims to offer a deeper understanding of the reasons behind and strategies for overcoming the fear of making mistakes at work. We’ll also instruct managers on how to respond and resolve issues cooperatively.

People Reveal The Worst Mistake They’ve Ever Made At Work (r/AskReddit)

What does messing up at work mean?

Making a mistake at work refers to failing to carry out your duties. Mistakes can range from minor ones like failing to respond to an email to serious ones like skipping a crucial meeting. While experts make every effort to avoid them, mistakes can still happen. But you can demonstrate your maturity, professionalism, and integrity by how you handle mistakes and how you move on.

What to do after making mistakes in the workplace

Here are some suggestions for handling a mistake at work:

Admit your mistake

It’s critical to admit your mistakes as soon as possible to prevent any unfavorable consequences. Be truthful about your deeds or inaction, and extend a sincere apology to the proper parties. Depending on how serious the incident was, you might contact people by phone, email, or in person. You should be direct and concise when expressing your regret and apology without being overly critical of yourself.

For a minor error, consider an email like:

Hello Jackson,

I just wanted to let you know that I sent the Briggs Corporation the wrong statement this morning. I noticed the error right away and immediately sent a follow-up email clarifying the mistake and attaching the correct statement. To inform Stephanie, who oversees our account at Briggs, of what transpired, I also gave her a call. She claimed that this wouldn’t interfere with our payment plan and that the incorrect email had been deleted. I called Libby Taylor at Home Life to inform her that I had unintentionally sent their statement to another client and to reassure her that the situation had been resolved right away.

I regret this error and am certain that it won’t occur again.



Express your feelings to the right people

When you mess up at work, you might feel discouraged or frustrated. Spend some time away from work processing your feelings and talking to friends or family about them. Avoid becoming overly emotional at work. Instead, practice some healthy habits to keep your composure, like:

Try to keep things in perspective and keep in mind that most mistakes can be fixed without suffering severe consequences.

Take ownership of the consequences

Making mistakes at work could have negative effects, like being put on probation or having to put in more hours. Typically, the type of disciplinary action is determined by the severity of the mistake and company policies. Accept your consequences dutifully and remain respectful. As you attempt to atone for your error, you should also make an effort to maintain a positive outlook.

Make amends

To maintain a productive workplace, it’s critical to make amends when your actions cause harm to others. Be remorseful and sincere. You might offer to take the person out for lunch or coffee to mend the relationship and move past the incident, depending on the nature of your relationship.

Create a plan to make up for your mistake

Determine the best way to make up for your mistake. You should catch up on any work you missed, get status updates from colleagues, and discuss the next steps with clients. Your plan may include:

Determine how you can help your team or clients, and how you can help them make up for any time or productivity they may have lost as a result of your mistake. If you’re unsure of the best course of action, consult the parties involved, including your peers and managers, to learn how you can help them. They can detail how your error specifically affected their responsibilities, and you can offer to assist them in catching up.

For instance, a copywriter might inquire about the meeting with the team if they missed a crucial marketing pitch with a new client. The writer can offer to take over the call to the client scheduled for the following day after learning that the account manager had to spend the morning writing a draft of copy for the pitch because of the writer’s absence. This will allow the account manager to catch up on their work.

Learn from your mistake

Find the root of your error so you can prevent it in the future. Determine the circumstances that led to your error in addition to immediate recovery. You can come up with long-term solutions for yourself and your coworkers by exercising this kind of self-reflection and critical thinking, such as:

Take a salesperson, for instance, who missed the deadline for submitting their quarterly sales report. Staying later and submitting the report by the end of the day would be a temporary solution to this issue. However, a closer look at the issue could reveal a bigger issue with poor organization on the part of the employee and a lack of organization between the sales manager and the sales team. The employee can now start setting reminders for report deadlines.

Deliver great work following your mistake

One mistake does not define your career. Make use of your setback as fuel to work harder and establish yourself as a valuable member of your team.


What do you do if you keep messing up at work?

Here’s your seven-step recovery plan.
  1. Allowing yourself to feel awful about it (but not for too long) is the first step.
  2. Step 2: Keep Things in Perspective. …
  3. Step 3: Confront Your Worst-Case Scenario—Then Let it Go. …
  4. Step 4: Apologize if You Need to—But Don’t Overdo It.
  5. Step 5: Create a Game Plan for Next Time.

Is it okay to mess up at work?

To be clear, the response is that it is acceptable to make errors at work. No matter how well-intentioned you may be, mistakes do happen because you’re only human. But when you consistently make mistakes at work without looking into why or taking action to fix them, it becomes a problem.

Is making mistakes at work normal?

We’ve all experienced the anxiety of having to admit a mistake at work. We might be scared to tell our manager or anxious about how our error might affect the company. However, making mistakes is completely normal and should be seen as a learning experience.

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