It’s easy to make mistakes at work. The good news is that in most cases, they’re minor and won’t spell disaster for your career. If you’ve already made a few of these, don’t panic. With the right damage control, you can successfully move ahead and even gain the respect of colleagues for the way you handled the problem.
Some Common Mistakes
Try to avoid telling your manager or superior that you are “too busy” if they ask you to do something. While you may have an enormous workload, you don’t want to appear unavailable. If you feel your workload is already heavy enough and are struggling to keep up, itemize the list of ‘to do’s’, take a crack at prioritizing them, and then run this plan by your manager to confirm you’re both in agreement on it. Knowing that business circumstances and priorities can change often is key and having a flexible attitude in this regard can help tremendously.
Failing to interact with others can also hamper your career prospects. While a company always appreciates a hard worker, if you’re hiding in your cubicle and never coming up for air, you’ll make it more difficult for colleagues and management to get to know you. The best employees are those who have a proper mix of a work ethic with socialization with others in the workplace.
Another mistake professionals can make is dressing inappropriately for work. Many companies today have moved away from requiring formal or business attire at work. ‘Business casual’ is the norm at most companies now – but what does it mean? It’s open to interpretation of course and this is what makes dressing the part difficult. Try to approach the task of dressing for work by observing how those around you dress. Look for cues on what’s expected. As Heather Huhman, career expert and hiring manager has written, “dress at least one step above your current position. It helps others picture you working above your current position and makes you look extremely professional.”
How to Overcome Your Mistakes
Sometimes, despite your best efforts and intentions, mistakes will happen. You might miss a deadline, a detail in an important report, or misspeak at a meeting. How do you proceed? First,and most importantly, never pass the buck. If you messed up, own up to it immediately.
Next, asses the damage. Sometimes mistakes are small enough that they are easily amended. If that’s the case, you’re in luck. Make the fix and move on. If your mistake has impacted the company adversely, create an action plan to fix your mistake and share it with your boss. Your management will appreciate your earnest efforts to make amends. Even better if you make time outside of your regular work hours to fix what went wrong. This stepwill show that you are willing to go above and beyond.
Lastly, once you’ve acknowledged your mistake and you’ve taken steps to fix it, don’t beat yourself up over it. You are human and mistakes happen. Let it go. If you continue to bring it up, you’ll only reinforce the memory of what happened.