We are human. At some point in our career, we will make a mistake.

To err is human ~ Alexander Pope

Man saying 'What have I done?'

A mistake does not define you. How you recover and learn from it does.

It's A Small Mistake

You make a small mistake, like sending an email to your co-workers without an attachment or arriving a few minutes late for a team meeting.

A man pinching his fingers together to indicate a small error.

What should you do?

  • Take responsibility

  • Apologize to the people impacted

  • Correct the mistake immediately (if possible)

Do not make a big deal of it. Fix the mistake as soon as possible, learn from it, and move on.


Dan realizes he is 5 minutes late for a team meeting. What should he do?

It's A More Serious Mistake

You make a mistake that could cost the company money or its reputation, like sending a report to customers with the wrong information in it.

Man looking worried. Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Take a deep breath!

You are likely feeling bad and are worried about the consequences, but it's important that you calm down so that you can think clearly about how to fix the problem.

What should you do?

  • Notify your manager as soon as possible

  • Admit your mistake and apologize

  • Do not make excuses or blame others

  • Present a solution or let your manager know you are working on finding one

  • Start working on the approved solution

  • Ask for help

Woman saying whatever it is I'm going to fix it.

If handled properly, you can recover from a mistake by demonstrating your problem-solving skills and your ability to work under pressure.


Susan accidentally shares confidential information about a customer with another customer. What should she do?

Learning From Your Mistakes

It's important to learn from your mistakes so they don't happen again. Consider the following:

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Do your processes need improving?

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Do you need more training?

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How do you check your work? Do your peers review your work?

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Do you have the right tools and technology?

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Do you have too much work?

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Are you getting enough rest?

There are many factors that contribute to mistakes. Be sure to take some time to reflect on what caused yours and make changes.

Take Action

Woman saying check followed by check marks.

You can reduce your mistakes by:


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