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How to take Responsibility for a Mistake at Work


When we are working we must devote our complete attention towards the work we have in hand, but still there are times when we commit mistakes.

We are humans and that is the reason mistakes are bound to happen. It is not an excuse, but a fact. No matter how much you try, there will be

times when your mind will get diverted and within those few moments, mistakes are bound to happen.

Sometimes the mistakes are minor, but there are times when due to your lack of concentration the organization has to suffer huge loss. At times you will find that you are the reason behind irate clients because you committed some error which is almost irreparable. So,

what do you do then?

Put the blame on others and try to save your back?

Do you think it is a good idea?

No, it will only worsen the situation. When you know you have committed a blunder, you must have the guts to take up the responsibility of the situation and face the consequences as well.

If you think that you can repair the mistake without informing your manager about it, then also it is not a good idea at all. The manager will come to know about it eventually and he might think that you tried to cover up the situation.

He will start suspecting your integrity and will start wondering what made you cover up the situation all by yourself.

So, why take chances, even when you know you can fix the problem, inform your manager first and then go about doing things to bury down the matter.How to take responsibility for a mistake at work

What to do When You Make a Mistake at Work:

If you are not sure about how to take the responsibility for a mistake that you have committed, then here are some tips that will be helpful for you.

1. Try the words that most politician uses:

You will find people who will react to the situation as if nothing has happened and everyone except for him is over reacting. This is done mostly by the politicians.

They admit that mistakes were made, but they never come out in the open and admit that they have committed the mistakes.

The politicians always walk on the beam where it seems that they are accepting that there was a fault, but somehow they also manage to move out of the situation at the same time. Therefore, you can also say that yes, mistakes were made, but now we need to move on.

2. Admit, that the mistake is made by you:

There are some errors that are miniscule and if you tell your boss about that error, then he might feel annoyed because you are disturbing with such an insignificant thing.

Therefore, in that case, fix the error and move on, but in case you have committed some mistake which is really big, then it is important that you tell your boss right away.

If you want to show that you are professional enough, then be upfront and admit to it.

3. Letting your boss know the way out:

When you have committed a mistake, then look for a solution first before going to your boss and admitting your guilt.

It will help you in admitting your fault because, then the focus will shift to the solution rather than the mistake.

Moreover, it will also display that you can keep your cool and come up with a solution when things go awfully wrong somewhere.

4. Think from a different perspective:

thinking from different perspectivesIf you have committed to help someone with some work, but you have failed to keep up your commitment which has led to a blunder, then you are responsible for that.

Now you have to come up with some kind of explanation which is satisfying enough else people will soon lose trust in you.

You must think which answer would have satisfied you, if you were in that situation and then speak out. It will help you in coming up with some good explanation and you will be able to admit the mistake more easily.

5. Never be afraid of the consequences:

It is scary to think about what the consequences will be, but if you think only about that, then you won’t be able to accept the truth anyway.

Therefore, it is important that you accept the fact that you have to face the consequences because of this major fault, but that must not deter you from speaking out the truth.

6. Be apologetic:

be apologetic Apologize is the best thing that you can do in this kind of a situation.

Instead of just accepting the fault and moving on, it is always better to add three simple words at the end of the sentence and that is I am Sorry. A simple sorry can save you a lot of misery and the concerned person also won’t have hard feelings for you.

7. Let them know that you understand:

Sometimes it is all about letting your managers know that you already understand what a major blunder you have committed and there is no need to reinforce the feelings by saying something harsh or by shouting at you.

When your manager will see that you really are taking the responsibility in fixing things all by yourself, then he will rather wait for your solution to work before saying anything serious and that will save your skin to quite an extent.

8. Explain the situation:

It is better that you let your boss know, under what situation everything happened. Now, you also must have a backup plan, so that it doesn’t happen in the future and this message must be conveyed to your boss as well.

When you will be able to explain the situation, it would imply that you have understood at what point things went out of your hand and now you have done your research well to stop it from happening again.

9. Excuses don’t serve any purpose:

If you are good at making excuses, then also don’t try the trick here because it would only put you in a bad light and nothing else.

When you do that, it will make your boss respond to you badly and would draw severe consequences as well.

10. It is a big deal:

You have committed a mistake, then solved it and moved on, if you think that your boss will act the same way, then you are absolutely wrong.

If you behave this way, then the damage that you have done will only multiply, therefore, taking the responsibility is the best way to handle the situation because it will show that you are aware of what you have done and is confident that you won’t commit the same thing again.

11. Value the time:

value of time When you let your boss know about the mistake right away, it will make the boss realize that you have not delayed the work instead you value the need of the work much more than your own comfort.

12. Pay the price:

You have messed it up, therefore, it is your responsibility to clear things up. So, if that means you have to stay late at office to solve the issue, then you will have to do that.

If the clients are angry, then call them up, listen to what they have to say over the issue and make them understand that things will get sorted out quickly and you will be able to deliver the project within the stipulated time frame.

Do every possible thing to fix it, rather than just accepting it. When you start fixing things that is when it really shows that you really care and is concerned about the organization’s reputation as well.

13. Never repeat the same mistake:

Repeating the same mistake over and over again is a crime and for that you might need to face serious upshots as well.

It is very important that you learn from your mistake. In case you are not doing that, then it will show the negative approach you have towards your work.

14. Your role in the mistake made by your group:

When the mistake is identified as a group’s mistake, then you cannot hide yourself under the sheet. Instead, you have to own up your responsibility in it.

In case the work was a success, then would you have said that I don’t have anything to do with it individually because it is a group effort?

No, then why would you do that in case of a mistake, therefore, when you have committed a mistake, even when it is within a group, commit to it and try to help as much possible in fixing it as well.

15. Mistake in Decision making:

In a leadership role, you must have witnessed that mistakes and lesson learnt are like two parts of the same coin.

Therefore, just make sure that your decision making ability doesn’t get affected by just a wrong decision that you have taken.

Instead ensure that it is not a major fault and you have learnt your lesson from that. Change the way you conducted yourself and it will show that you have learnt a lesson from your mistake.

16. Ask your colleagues:

Talking to your boss If you are not sure about how to fix the issue, then you can seek help from your colleagues, and ask them to help you out.

They will be more than happy to help you with your work, but all this is possible only when you have admitted to your mistake and is guilty of committing it. Otherwise, nobody will help you in covering up the mistake that you have made.

17. Never break the trust:

Never do anything that will break the trust that our colleague or the boss have on you.

It takes time to build trust, but breaking it is just a matter of time, therefore, never commit mistakes that will break their trust. It is hard to recover then.

18. Experiment is not good always:

You might be known for improvising and experimenting with various things in order to complete the task, but you must remember that experimenting is not good always.

There are times when the experiment can backfire and land you up in trouble; therefore, you must only try out something new when you are sure that this process will provide you the result you are looking for.

19. Economy is not responsible:

Though you cannot manage the economy as a whole, but you surely have the power to handle the situation in your organization.

You know what is happening outside, so you could have managed the situation inside your concern that way.

But instead of doing that if you take the shelter of bad economy as the reason for your failure, then it is not good. You have to own up the responsibility of not being able to take the right decision at the right situation and it all went out of hand.

20. Speed up the recovery:

Mistake is committed; it is done and completed, but now what? Now what?

Do you sit back and cry over spilt milk or take action instantaneously?

Yes, of course, you need to take action at the very onset and for that you have to admit to your guilt and ask for help from your boss to rectify the error.

21. Summarize the message:

When your boss is saying something to you, then hear him out properly.

It will reassure him that you are all ears to him and you know how grave the situation is and in order to make this happen, you can just summarize what your boss just told you and then come up with your solution and make sure that you do not commit the same mistake again.

If it is a costly affair, then try to make amends as soon as you can in order to help the situation from going bad to worse financially.

22. Graceful recovery is important:

Mistakes are part of our life, but how you recover from them is more important. You must be known as someone who could keep the cool at the time of chaos and comes up with perfect solutions.

Recovery is what everybody should remember and even your client or manager must also remember you for that only.

To Wrap Up:

Nothing matters more than how you carry yourself during tough times and if you can sail past through bad weather, then it will help you in building a character for yourself in the office.