4 Tips For Dealing With Mistakes

July 19, 2011

No matter what your do in life it’s inevitable that mistakes will be made. And unfortunately, they tend to affect everyone, including your clients, past clients, prospects, referral sources, constituents, donors, and more.  

Knowing that mistakes are inevitable allows you to prepare yourself and your employees on how to deal with a problem that arises as the result of a mistake. Because when mistakes do happen, it is all about how everyone responds after the fact. With that said, below you will find four tips from Dale Carnegie Training for dealing with mistakes.

1. Accept What Happened And Apologize Immediately — You can diffuse a situation or at least make it more manageable simply by owning up to your mistake. Plus, it is simply the right thing to do. But more than anything, it shows that you are willing to take full responsibility. Once you have apologized, admit your mistake to whomever you may need to. Keep in mind that the hardest part of making a mistake is dealing with why it happened in the first place, which is easier to do after you have apologized.

2. Maintain A Positive Attitude — Negative emotions like anger, frustration, and exasperation just complicate matters further. They make it harder for everyone to focus logically and with a clear head. When something goes wrong, pause, take a deep breath, center yourself and calm down before making the problem bigger than it needs to be.

3. Consult Others Before Dealing With Certain Issues — Don’t attempt to make it appear as though a mistake never happened in the first place. First, you should own up to your mistake right off the bat. From there, the most effective way to clear up a mistake completely is to consult your peers. Get feedback from your boss or people higher up. Consult your peers. Their advice and assistance may prove extremely useful when developing, and later executing, your plan of action to resolve the issue.

4. Develop A Plan Of Action To Avoid Future Mistakes — The first instinct most people have when they make a mistake is to find a quick solution. Don’t do this. Avoid rash reactions. Your next move should be to find out why it happened and then develop a plan to avoid the mistake from happening again. Doing so could reveal faster, smarter ways to solve future mistakes.

Remember that mistakes are unavoidable. As James Joyce once said, “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” Your business, not-for-profit or political office consists of people, and people slip up and make mistakes from time to time. When this happens you’re faced with a choice of allowing everyone to go into a chaotic, frenzied panic internally, or to play it smart and develop a plan to work through the issues. Use these tips to achieve the latter and your organization will learn and grow from its mistakes.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo credit: Vlado

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