What I made a mistake? Sometimes it is just hard to believe when you have made a mistake, especially when you know what you should have done. Mistakes just happen sometimes, even when we are trying our best and know what we should be doing.

The truth is no one likes making mistakes at work.  If we are honest we will openly admit that we make mistakes and sometimes more often than we would like to admit.  The best option when we make a mistake is being able to admit when we have made one.  Not being able to do so will tarnish our integrity.

There are two sides to a mistake when it is found.  Either you found that one has been made or you made it and need to admit it to your coworker, supervisor or boss.

Workplace mistakes need to be handled properly. If not, they can cause an even bigger problem for the parties involved than the original mistake.

Let’s start with the mistake being your fault and it was brought to your attention by either a co-worker or supervisor.  What should you do first?

Start by listening to what they are saying.  This can be very hard because your mind is coming up with what you are going to say back to them before you have even finished hearing them out.

After you have heard what they have said then ask to “explain” your side.  You may have realized that you made this mistake and were just waiting to see if someone noticed or you may not have even realized that you made a mistake at all.

If you did know that you made a mistake and did not come forward first, that is a BIGGER mistake on your part as this reflects on your integrity, which is hard to repair and we’ll address that in a moment.

If you did not know you made a mistake, then this is what is called an “honest mistake.”  The next step you need to take is to state what you have learned from it and how you are going to ensure that you don’t make the same mistake again.  Be professional, and move forward. Mistakes happen.

If you had knowledge of your mistake and did not reveal it you have tarnished your integrity.  You need to give a good explanation (if there is one) as to why you felt it was worth hiding the mistake instead of addressing it and taking care of it before someone else found out.

The best thing that you can do is to apologize for not coming forward when you realized that you made a mistake and admit that you were wrong. Explain what you have learned by the experience and ask that you be given the chance to make things right.  Reassure your supervisor or employer that it will not happen again, then, if you still have a job make sure it never happens again.

Only time and proof that you learned a lesson, will allow your integrity to shine again with this person.

Whether you are the one who made the mistake or the one who found it remember we are all very capable of making mistakes.  It is the way that we handle them that speaks volumes about the type of person we really are.