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How to handle making a mistake at work

As a busy PA or secretary your wheels are always spinning. Requests and demands will come from all areas, at all times and multi-tasking will be second nature. However, no matter how good you are at your job, you will make mistakes.

Oscar Wilde put it best when he said“experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” The real challenge is how we behave after we’ve made that inevitable mistake.

So how can we best handle a mistake?

  • Keep calm - if you panic you will make things worse for yourself and waste valuable time, which could be better used to find a solution. 

  • Try to fix the mistake - if there is anything that can be done to solve or diminish the problem, then this needs to be done sooner than later. Even if it can only solve the problem in part, it is worth doing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

  • Own it - it might be the last thing you want to do but owning your mistake and confessing to your boss will probably not be as hard as you think. 

  • Learn from it - you need to learn from your mistakes. Go through what happened step by step and consider how you could have done things differently, so as to prevent it happening in the future.

  • Move on - it might seem like the last thing you want to do, especially if it was a big mistake, but you need to get your confidence back and not dwell on what happened, or it will impact your ongoing work. After all you are only human and humans make mistakes!