Say This When You Make a Mistake

We can sometimes make mistakes in our work, and the mistake we make could be rectified. Even a big mistake can be corrected, learn from the damage to help improve the process and safety precautions.

What to say to those involved by your mistake

Let the people affected by your mistake know what happened, but save the technical details for the moment. Instead, focus on how the situation affects them: what are the limitations, what features are unavailable, and how long are these limitations and the lack of features likely to continue? Most importantly, provide solutions and ask for suggestions. If the error results in a system crash, some experienced technicians may remember what they have done in the past before this system was set up. If you have to and can do it, consider calling retirees for their ideas.

Do not blame others

  • You are no longer a child. If you try to blame others, you look unprofessional and diminish the opinions that others have of you. Conversely accepting responsibility and confessing the mistake can win respect.

Stop looking back

  • Learning from the past can help to avoid repeated mistakes. Do not confuse learning from the past with thinking about past. The latter involves endless self-blame and often self-pity, which does not solve the situation. If you find yourself in this mindset, shake it off and read the next tip.

Apologize to those affected by your mistake

  • Errors often cost other peoples time and productivity and frustrate them. Even if you solve the problem, those affected might be upset if you never recognize that frustration, but if you apologize you will demonstrate that you care about them and what has happened.

Determine if the error can occur elsewhere

  • However, here you should consider other areas of the business or other applications. To what extent do they have the same conditions, procedures or persons that could cause them the same kind of problem? You may want to warn these areas. They can answer that they have more competent staff, but it is a risk that you must take.

Put the best possible face on what happened

  • Everyone focuses on the negative effects of a problem but a lot of the time positive results come with learning from mistakes. One of the most useful concepts we have learned is to “redesign” the situation, that is, to change the way a person views it. In this case, cropping the problem may take the following form: Yes, a problem has occurred. Yes, your system failed but luckily it was during a slow season and now you know to prepare for the future.