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Made A Mistake At Work? Here's What To Do

Last updated June 12, 2024

If you made a mistake at work, don't panic! While making mistakes is totally normal, it's important to learn from them to do better next time, especially in the workplace. Here are some tips on what to do if you make a mistake at work.

Own the mistake and apologize if necessary

You can only fix what you know, so name the mistake you made early and honestly. It is natural to become defensive when we’ve made an error, but that lack of acceptance can lead to making the same mistakes again and again. Take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and know that it's okay to acknowledge the error and move on. If your decision negatively affected others, be sure to apologize to them. Taking ownership not only allows you to forgive yourself, but also shows your humility and dedication to your team at work.

Understand the "why" 

Try to think of 1-3 reasons why you made that mistake. Understanding your behavior and thoughts that led to a bad choice will make it easier to avoid repeating it. It can also make it much easier to ask for help to prevent the same mistake in the future while building trust with coworkers and managers.


Think about 1-3 things you learned from this mistake. Do you need to take time to think through decisions more fully? Do you need advice or guidance from a coworker, friend, or family member next time? As you take time to reflect, be sure to share any learnings with a coworker or manager.

Move on 

Even more important than owning your bad decision is your ability to move on. Remember that we all make mistakes, but owning and learning from them allows us to keep moving forward! While this experience may have been stressful, you will come out of it on the other side stronger and smarter! 

For more job success tips, sign up for our free job resources or text #Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!  

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