5 Best Ways to Handle a Workplace Error
Everyone makes workplace errors, as they say. You often have the option of fixing your mistake or letting it go and moving on. However, making a mistake at work is more serious. It might severely harm your employer. It might, for instance, jeopardize a client relationship, result in legal issues, or damage the health or safety of others. It will eventually come back to haunt you. There may be more to it than just admitting your mistake and moving on. Your career may be affected by what you do after making a mistake at work. You can take the following actions:
Acknowledge Your Error
Inform your manager right away if you find out something went wrong. The only exception, of course, is if you make a little error that won’t have an impact on anyone or if you catch it in time to remedy it. If not, don’t make an effort to cover up your error. If you do that, you can seem much worse and people might even suspect you of covering something up. Being honest about it will show professionalism, which is a quality that most employers really admire.
Give your boss a plan to fix the mistake.
You must devise a plan to correct your error and propose it to your employer. Ideally, you’ll be able to come up with something before you approach her, but if not, don’t lose time. Tell her that you are developing a solution.
Once you are aware of what needs to be done, present it. Be extremely specific about what you believe needs to be done and what outcomes you anticipate. Inform your boss of the timeframe and any associated expenditures for implementation. In case your boss rejects “Plan A,” be sure to have “Plan B” available. Although making a mistake is never a good thing, seize the chance to show off your problem-solving abilities.
Don’t accuse anyone of anything.
There is a good likelihood that other persons were also accountable for the blunder in a team-oriented setting. People are often ecstatic to claim credit for accomplishments, but they are reluctant to take responsibility for mistakes. If you can, gather everyone together and go to your supervisor to let her know something is wrong.
You might not be able to make that happen, sadly. There will be others who will claim, “It’s not my fault.” Even if they do bear some of the blame for the error, blaming others won’t help. Ultimately, hopefully, each person will be responsible for their own deeds.
Say sorry, but don’t be hard on yourself.
Between accepting responsibility and punishing oneself, there is a huge difference. Accept responsibility for your error, but avoid criticizing yourself—especially in front of others. People will remember your mistake if you continually drawing attention to it.
Instead than focusing on the fact that you made the mistake in the first place, you want your manager to pay attention to what you did to fix it. But be careful about blowing your own trumpet. Not only will bragging about your solution draw attention to your original error, but it may also give the impression that you erred in order to intervene and save the day.
If at all possible, fix the error immediately.
If you are not entitled to overtime pay, come in early, stay late, and use as much of your lunch break as necessary to fix the error. If you are a non-exempt employee, your employer will be required to pay you overtime, which is equal to 1 1/2 times your usual hourly rate, for each hour you work in excess of the suggested number of hours per week. You definitely don’t want to have him break that rule in order to cause additional commotion. If you need to put in more hours at work, ask your manager for permission.