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Posted by Hays UAE, April 2015

We’ve all had it, that awful sinking feeling you get when you’ve just realised you’ve made a mistake. Unfortunately, there is no avoiding it, we are all human, and mistakes are an inevitable part of our daily working lives. What really matters is how we take ownership for these mistakes, how we present a viable solution for them, and then bounce back.

So, if you’ve recently made a mistake at work, try these tactics:

1. Honesty is the best policy

Whilst no one expects perfection, everyone expects honesty in the workplace. By not owning up to a mistake, you are simply adding fuel to a spark that ignites a problem, which you will not be able to contain at a later date. When you drop the ball, don’t make excuses and don’t deny it.

2. Devise your game plan

But, before you run off to admit your mistake to the first person you see, take a moment to take some deep breathes, put things into perspective and arm yourself with an actionable solution to the mistake. Then decide who the most appropriate person to tell is. This will prevent the hammer coming down on you too hard, protect your reputation and restore trust with your colleagues. Just don’t take too long to admit your mistake, otherwise you risk giving the impression that you don’t care to your boss and colleagues.

3. Learn from your mistakes

Once a mistake is made, analyse what went wrong and how to avoid a similar situation arising in the future. Why did you miss that deadline? How will you make sure it never happens again? By reflecting and changing your ways or adopting a different approach, you are showing that you are taking a constructive and proactive approach.

4. Forgive yourself and move on

Don’t beat yourself up, everyone makes mistakes. You’re not the first, and you certainly won’t be the last person to mess up at work. Don’t dwell on it for too long, take some time to reflect and most importantly, forgive yourself. Move on with a clean slate and a fresh frame of mind.

5. Don’t let one mistake dent your confidence

It’s important that you don’t let one error dent your confidence and deflate the passion you have for your work. If you have been accountable, honest, proactive and open to changing the way things are done, it is time to move forward. Mistakes happen; do not let one taint your future working life.


Remember, everyone makes mistakes and as awful as it feels at the time, you will recover and your colleagues will move on. Just bear in mind that in the long run, how you react to a mistake matters much more than what you did.

Wishing you a mistake free day,


"Without mistakes, there are no lessons. Without lessons, there is no progress. Without progress, there is no achievement" - P. Irvine