Top Business Professionals Discuss How to Best Handle Mistakes at Work


When you make a mistake at work, you all of a sudden feel like you’re the only one in the world that this has ever happened to. You feel isolated and embarrassed and might worry your employers will fire you or you think you’re incompetent. What you need to remember though is that everyone makes mistakes and the best way to get over them is to handle them professionally.

Something that can really help you to get over your mistakes is to learn from them, says Sean Gilbert the founder of Select Wealth Managers. “When we make mistakes at work, it’s difficult to let it go and we tend to dwell on the negative impacts of them. I find that when you treat a mistake like a lesson, then you are more apt to move on from it and you won’t make the same mistake again.”

“To learn from your mistakes, try backtracking to figure out how they happened. From this information, you can educate yourself on how you could have avoided the mistakes and therefore increase the chances of you avoiding them in the future.”

Anthony Kalka of The Kalka Law Group suggests that you try and put things into perspective. “Making a mistake shouldn’t derail the way your whole day, week or month. It certainly doesn’t feel good at the time, but the best way to deal with the mistake professionally is to put it into perspective. Most of the time we don’t make mistakes and we actually tend to excel at work. Try to think about the times where you felt good and were achieving a lot at work instead. This can make your mistake seem a little less significant and you can simply deal with it and move on.”

“It’s not to say you aren’t allowed to mourn your mistake, but once you do, you need to be able to overload that negative feeling with more positive ones so you don’t beat yourself up about it. When you do this, you only make yourself feel small and less confident in your abilities which can impact your work.”

Although it’s not always easy to forgive yourself and move on, it’s necessary for your mental well-being. It’s possible that a mistake can impact your productivity as you convince yourself that you can’t do your job well.

When you want to take your mistake head on, Kurtis Forster of Nu-Vista Premiere Realty says to talk with your employer. “Show your boss that you are going to take this mistake seriously and figure out how to prevent it in the future. Ask to speak with them privately so you don’t have to explain yourself in front of coworkers. When you discuss the mistake with your employer, it can ease your anxiety about it as if they’re a decent boss, they will try to help you in your mission instead of making you feel worse than you already do.”

“It can also help to come up with a detailed plan on how you plan to fix the mistake and share it with your employer(s). This shows dedication and that you are owning up to the mistakes and not shying away. When you want to show professionalism at work, it’s important to stand up tall and not blend into the background. This shows everyone that you are strong and are willing to do what it takes to make things right.”

Another way to be able to effectively take on a mistake at work is to just take a minute and breathe. When you’re in a situation where you made a mistake, you don’t want to work yourself up and do something else to make it worse. Just take a minute to take a couple of deep breaths and calm yourself down before making the next move. Sometimes it helps to become more aware of your surroundings in an attempt to be more mindful. This helps greatly with being able to face your boss and take ownership of your mistake.