Mar 28, 2016 12:06 PM EDT

How To Control The Damage When You've Made A Mistake At Work

By R S Ali

Humans err. But some mistakes have bigger consequences than others, and this is especially true of work. Take Monster's advice on how to do damage control when you've just had an Oops! moment at work.

First, stop the panic. Yes, worry is normal. But everyone on this earth who does anything that means anything has, at some point, been the subject of a faux-pas at work. They have embarrassed their boss or damaged something important. We've all been there.

So you added up some math in your head and turns out you weren't exactly a math whiz. Or you lost an important document, gave the wrong order, or used last year's numbers in this this year's projection. Breathe. Mistakes can almost always be fixed, even when they can't.

1. Calm yourself 

Not only do problems appear worse when you panic, they can actually be made worse in your panic. Forgive yourself. And remember that your boss was once employee too, and he/she should, if not forgive at once, at least understand. (Unless you work with an extremely toxic boss).

2. Decide how much you will say about the mistake, and to whom 

We're not talking about hiding here, but actual damage control. If you boss has discovered your mistake at the last moment, depending on how much impact the mistake will have, you may choose to not tell the client.
The rule of thumb here is that as long as it is not causing serious damage to a client or a company or a person, don't speak up.

3. Apologize, but don't overdo it

Sometimes, the bigger you make a mistake seem, the bigger it will appear to others. No, don't attempt to downplay something major. Know how big it is, and act accordingly.

4. Learn from the mistake 

Once the moment is over, figure out what happened. Too much coffee? Too less sleep? Too much work? What made you make the mistake? Take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.

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