How do you handle mistakes at work?

Have you ever made a mistake or messed up at work and continued to ruminate about it? Whether you’ve made a big mistake or a small one, we sometimes have a hard time letting go of it, even after everyone around us has forgotten about it. Or, perhaps you go in the other direction and try to hide it completely or pass the blame to someone else.

The fact that you’ve made a mistake is not what matters – we all make them. What matters is how you handle the mistake after the fact.

Former GE CEO Jack Welch often recalls the time he made a mistake costing the company thousands upon thousands…or so he thought. Instead of trying to cover up what he’d done, he owned up to it. Because his superiors had a flexible mindset, they went about resolving the issue and ensuring he had the support he needed. This taught him a lesson about the kind of flexible, growth-orientated leader he wanted to become.

And we can learn a lesson from Jack, too. If you make a mistake, admit it! If it’s not something you can reconcile on your own, then speak to whoever you need to in order to fix it. Hiding it will only make it worse, and the way you handle your mistakes will affect how you are judged professionally.

I have made mistakes before and experienced that horrible, sinking feeling. But I realised that, actually, this is a part of life and I need to step up and come forward with solutions.

After you’ve admitted your mistake, don’t ruminate on it and punish yourself with negative self-talk. That won’t put you in the growth-orientated business mindset that companies need and it will not help your own growth, either.

Mistakes happen. It’s how you deal with them and what you learn from them that really matters. Let me know your thoughts on this topic by tweeting me @SarahJ_Coaching.