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How to react to mistakes at your work place

by Evalyne Ndanu
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Perhaps you missed a deadline, or were late for an Important meeting, or you missed your deliverables on your timesheet, or you lost and Important client or account because of carelessness. Possible mistakes at work are numerous. What can you do then when you get caught up in mistakes? Here are some tips on how to react to mistakes at your work place.

Evaluate and assess what happened

It is vital for you to assess what happened. Evaluation will make things clearer and bring them into perspective. Try to look at the situation as if from an external perspective. What is the mistake? What is the Impact of the mistake? Who has you mistake affected? How did it happen? Could your mistake have been avoided?

Evaluation will help you understand the magnitude of the mistake, as well as who it affected. It brings clarity and you are able to formulate a better way forward. Proper evaluation techniques involves asking the right questions, considering the context and weighing your options.

Be Honest

After you have evaluated and assessed you mistake, it is highly likely that you have identifies the role you had to play in it. Honesty is liberating, it will set you free and off any luggage of having to sustain a lie.

Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” 
Spencer Johnson

Moreover, Once you have told yourself the truth, it becomes easier to tell the truth to other people. Tell them exactly what happened. For Instance, If you forgot to send the emails in time because you were caught up with something tell it as it is. Perhaps you were caught up by time and that is what caused you to make the mistake. Of Importance is to liberate yourself with the truth.


One of the best ways on how to react to mistakes at your work place, is to apologise. Try your best not to offer fake apologies. People are smart humans, they are able to tell when you are not sincere.

You need to offer a true and sincere apology. Avoid making excuses of any sorts. Own up to your mistakes and apologise for them. Keep it brief and hit the nail on the head. A proper apology will show that you acknowledge your faults and take responsibility of your actions.

It is also helpful if you avoid over-apologising. This is because it may be interpreted to mean that you are insecure or incompetent.


Keep calm

Sometimes when you make mistakes, you are clouded and weighed down by emotions. They could look like emotions of frustrations, anger, outbursts and panic.

While in some situations these emotions are inevitable, it is best to find a way of first calming down. Decisions made in the heat of the moment or right in the middle of emotions are not particularly healthy ones. You can decide to take a breath of fresh outside, to have you favourite coffee or simple walk away from your work desk for a few seconds or minutes to Clear you head and feelings. Then you can think straight when you are calm.

Avoid repeating the same mistakes in future

The way to show that you truly were sorry is by avoiding a repeat of the same mistake in the future. This is the best tip on how to react to mistakes at your workplace. Working to ensure that a repeat of the same doesn’t occur.

Apologies are great, but they don’t really change anything. You know what does? Action. – Stella Young

If you effectively did an evaluation and assessment, it means you identified areas you would have done better. The clear perspective you formulated will now enable you to be intentional on not repeating the mistakes again.

Forgive yourself and move on

Be kind to yourself. You reaction to the whole situation is actually what matters. The mistake was done it was done and we cannot role back the wheels of time.

Give yourself some empathy and compassion. Additionally, be aware that mistakes are part of the learning curve, now you know better, you will definitely do better. Rise up, dust yourself and keep moving.

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