How To React to Mistakes at Work

What do you do when you make a mistake at work?
  1. Forgive yourself for mistakes at work. After making a mistake on the job, you likely feel embarrassed, worried or frustrated. …
  2. Confess and take responsibility. …
  3. Do what you can to set things right. …
  4. Take stock of what you’ve learned. …
  5. Get back to work or move on.

It’s human to make mistakes, but try telling that to a perfectionist. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you go into every working day expecting everything to go according to plan. There are plenty of minute mistakes you might make. The potential obstacles in your path to success are endless, from unfinished tasks to unanswered emails.

But if you’re striving for career perfection, you might be harming your own interests. Unreasonably high standards may result in more issues than they resolve. In light of this, let’s examine why making mistakes at work is acceptable and how to prevent letting them hold you back.

Let’s face reality first: No one is perfect in this world. Thats the truth of the matter. While you should always give your all at work, you shouldn’t berate yourself if things don’t go according to plan. You have to be forgiving of yourself whether you make a mistake or just don’t perform well on a particular project. Being your own worst critic all the time will only cause unneeded emotional distress. Make sure to practice a little self-kindness.

Work Hard, Fail Harder | Funny Job and Workplace Mistakes

Ways to react when you make mistakes at work

No matter how big the mistake, how you respond to it will determine how you recover from it and how it will affect how you move forward in the organization. Remember that while words can help to correct the situation, your actions have just as much, if not more, of an impact. Be sure to express poise, assurance, and regret following your error. Following are some suitable responses to mistakes you make at work:

Keep things in perspective

Although making a mistake can be embarrassing, restrain your emotions before acting or speaking. It’s simpler to deal with errors in a professional manner when you have the right mindset and attitude. Keep calm and avoid making a scene.

Analyze the problem

Analyze the issue and identify potential solutions before you apologize or take any other action. If you can solve the issue on your own, do so right away. Choose the right person to contact if you require outside assistance. Then, create a concise account of what occurred and express gratitude for their assistance. The sooner you find a solution, the more likely you are to escape punishment and other possible consequences.

Have a private meeting with your boss

If your error had serious repercussions, think about scheduling a private meeting with your boss to go over the details. This enables you to sit down and have a conversation with them, where you can accept responsibility for your actions and clearly explain what transpired. If you’ve already apologized, a private meeting gives you the opportunity to do so again. Remember that your boss knows mistakes are only human.

Be honest

When you make a mistake, be upfront about it. Give your manager a succinct but truthful account of what transpired. To ensure that they comprehend your concern and the situation in general, speak in a clear and concise manner. Being truthful with your manager or employer encourages them to put their trust in you for upcoming tasks and endeavors.

Make a brief apology

When you screw up, admit it in front of everyone and move on. Despite your embarrassment, there’s a good chance that after a few days, neither your manager nor your coworkers will recall what happened.

Think about apologizing briefly to your manager by saying, “I made a mistake.” However, Im working to resolve the issue. In addition to expressing your regret, this demonstrates that you are making amends and holding yourself accountable. Additionally, it enables your manager to view you as a self-assured and resourceful person who respects the organization they work for.

Consider how to prevent mistakes in the future

While there is no way to avoid mistakes forever, you can take concrete steps to reduce the likelihood that they will happen in the future. Think about what went wrong with your previous error and what you can do to avoid it in the future.

Adjust your work style

Finding a routine that promotes your overall productivity is crucial if you’re a working professional. It’s crucial to take into account changing your working style after making a mistake. For instance, if you frequently miss meetings in the morning, set an earlier alarm so that you are prepared when your workday begins. Other strategies, like getting enough exercise, can help you focus more.

Why is it important to avoid mistakes at work?

An appropriate response to a mistake is more effective and frequently results in more good than bad. Your response to errors may even provide you with the opportunity to impress your employer. Despite this, you should still strive to avoid errors at work. Making mistakes occasionally results in disciplinary action from your employer. The following are some effects that can result from errors at work:

Reactions to avoid when you make mistakes at work

Knowing the proper response to a workplace error can help you steer clear of making the same mistake again. It also helps you minimize any damage youve created. Here are some examples of reactions to steer clear of when you mess up at work:

Only apologize without taking action

Although managers value apologies, the actions you take to make things right demonstrate that you are proactive and prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to make things right. Avoid giving them a simple apology and asking them to find a solution for you.

Cover up your mistake

Although you may be able to find a temporary fix by remaining silent about your error or delaying your response, this isn’t always the case. If your manager or employer learns about it, it might complicate the situation and reveal that you are not as trustworthy as you have represented yourself to be. Instead of worrying about your reputation, concentrate on transparency and take into account how your error will affect the rest of the company.

Make excuses

Making excuses for your errors conveys the message that you are incapable of accepting responsibility for your actions. If you ignore your error, it may be interpreted as a lack of concern for the situation and a lack of commitment to your position.

Divert blame

Don’t assign blame for a mistake you made to someone else. Owning up to your error demonstrates to your employer that you are responsible for your own actions. It also improves your working relationships with your coworkers.

Talk too much and react dramatically

Sometimes, when someone is reacting instinctively, they end up talking too much in an effort to solve the problem as soon as possible. It’s also best to refrain from yelling and telling everyone at work about your mistake when you do it. Avoid becoming overemotional and reiterating your apology. While your response demonstrates your regret, it also demonstrates that you lack confidence in your work and perform poorly under pressure. Additionally, apologizing frequently reduces productivity for both you and the people you are speaking to at work.

React too calmly

Even though it’s important to maintain composure after a mistake, acting too composedly demonstrates that you don’t care enough about your job to address the issue. It also demonstrates your lack of confidence because you didn’t feel pressured to find a suitable solution.


What are common mistakes 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.

How do you explain a mistake at work?

20 Common Work Mistakes You May Have Been Making Every Day
  • Overworking. According to the U. S. According to the BLS, American productivity has increased by 400% since 1950.
  • Powering through. …
  • Lack of sleep. …
  • Writing nonsense. …
  • Slouching. …
  • Not looking at the big picture. …
  • Rambling. …
  • Looking for another job.

How do I stop obsessing over mistakes at work?

Express your regret and the harm you caused to the other person, team, or business with a sincere and humble apology. Don’t be defensive or make your apology about yourself. Not your intent, but your impact is what matters to other people.

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