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How to Handle Mistakes at Work

As a kid, I’d often watch The Magic School Bus and listen to Ms. Frizzle proudly proclaim her love for making mistakes. She goes on to say that without making mistakes, one can’t learn and learning is necessary for growth and creativity.

Oh, if I could be a kid again!

Although Ms. Frizzle was totally right about mistakes being a part of life, an adult making mistakes (especially at work) can far more threatening consequences including being fired.

Throughout my career, I have made my share of mistakes, some big and some small, but they all had something in common, I overcame them.

Making mistakes at work brings with it a wave of emotions that sway from anger, frustration, embarrassment, and even to fear. Fear is especially common if you work for a manager who has very little tolerance or compassion for mistakes.

So how do you handle mistakes at work? Do the “Five ITs”

1. Own It- Mistakes happen. Yeah, they suck, hard! The quickest and fastest way to move on is to own it without shifting the blame onto something else, even if the mistake isn’t entirely your fault. The blame game accomplishes nothing. Don’t underestimate the kudos and respect you will earn by owning the mistake, simply and without hesitation.