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Six Tips for Fessing Up to Your Mistakes

Six Tips for Fessing Up to Your Mistakes

Everyone makes them, but no one likes confronting them. When owning up to an error, the trick is to remain calm and explain what happened and what you've learned

It happens to the best of us: We make mistakes. Whether it is blowing a crucial deadline, mismanaging a project, missing an important meeting or copying one's boss on an unflattering e-mail, we have our blunders, and sometimes we get called to the carpet for them.

It's no wonder we make mistakes. Today's stressful workplace expects perfection. This quarter's numbers have to exceed last quarter's numbers. Market share has to increase. Work has to be completed faster. We have to be on top of our game practically every minute of the day. It's just this type of stress that gets the best of us and causes us to blow our stack in front of a subordinate, dash off an e-mail without proofing it or implement a new technology without adequately testing it.

It is important to take responsibility for your mistakes. Here are six tips for fessing up to your faux pas

No one intentionally makes a mistake, but they happen anyway. When we do make mistakes, we can't help but wonder — no matter how high our position in the organization — What will happen to me? Will my colleagues or staff find out? Will I get fired?

Those are all normal questions. But what you need the most in situations where you've erred, and have to address it with your boss, is calmness and clarity. In many instances, it's not what happened that matters so much as how you handle the aftermath.

It is important to take responsibility for your mistakes. Here are six tips for fessing up to your faux pas.

1. Prepare Your Side of the Story
Before you speak with your boss, get your ducks in a row. Ask yourself why you made this mistake. The purpose of asking yourself this question is to understand what went wrong so you can make it right. Asking yourself what you can do to prevent this from happening again can help you learn from your mishap.

Get your answers on paper. List what led up to the mistake, what happened and your game plan for fixing it. This process is important because it gives you objectivity and clarity. It also prepares you for your conversation with your manager. If you are too emotional to get perspective on your own, talk to a colleague or someone outside the company to provide you with a different point of view.

You do not want to wing this conversation. Plan what you are going to say. Prepare in advance because in the moment you will be nervous. Practice what you are going to say several times. This will help you come across in a polished and professional manner.

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