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Have You Ever Made a Mistake at Work that Still Bothers You?

7 Steps to Handle Mishaps and Move On

Have you ever made a mistake at work that you could not forgive or forget?  Maybe you made an error that affected a project or perhaps a team, or another colleague.  We have all been there and done that once…twice…or even more!  The reality is that we are human beings and making mistakes is a part of life. 

Although many of us grew up thinking that mistakes are not acceptable and they should never happen, reality is quite different.  For example, did you know that Post-It-Notes were developed by accident?  Who would have thought that a mishap could be so useful or profitable!  This goes to show you that sometimes the results from uncomfortable situations can reveal an unseen benefit!  Catherine Pulsifier once said, “"We all make them, the difference is what we do after we make the mistake, how we see the mistake - a learning experience or a failure."  If we are clever enough to realize a mishap can be a learning opportunity, than maybe we can avoid making the same mistake twice!

Here are seven steps for the next time you find yourself in such a predicament:

  1. Acknowledge – take a deep breath and own your mistake or that of your team
  2. Focus – pay attention to the problem and not the person(s) at fault, including yourself
  3. Reflect – determine what led to the situation
  4. Collaborate – involve those affected to be a part of the solution
  5. Transform – determine an innovative solution
  6. Share – absorb the learning moment and share your wisdom
  7. Move on – life is too short, so keep it moving

Remember that everyone makes mistakes, whether they are of our own making or because of working with someone else – and that is ok!  In a sense, these experiences can be teachers and even opportunities…we just need to listen and have a plan in place!  The key is to learn how to respond for effective professional growth.

Written by Melanie Rebottini.

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