Dealing With Mistakes At Work And Home: Four Keys

Published on February 2, 2011 by

Everybody blows it from time to time. We miss a deadline at work, we respond impatiently to a good friend or family member or we don't return the phone call we said we would. I'm not saying we blow it all the time, but sometimes it happens to the best of us.

How we handle these times will either get things moving again or create more problems, bigger problems.

Many people make excuses when they drop the ball. Of course, they would say they are simply "explaining" what happened; putting it into context. In effect, they are blaming someone else or some circumstance. "It wasn't me, I would have been on time but _________. (You fill in the blank.)

Breaking News: I've done this before. I've blamed my circumstance or someone else. You probably have too. The best people I know have done this before and the world hasn't come to an end, as far as I know. Every great once in a while, we blow it in how we handle our mistakes and shortcomings.

But for the most part, here's what we should be doing when we drop the ball: Take full responsibility. No excuses and no explanation of the extenuating circumstances that were "totally beyond my control."

There is no need for self-blame either. Blaming self sounds like it's taking responsibility but it isn't. It's simply beating up on yourself. That doesn't make things better, it makes things worse.

Taking full responsibility has four parts:

* Acknowledging we dropped the ball
* Empathizing with anyone our behavior has affected
* The commitment to pick up the ball and do what we said we would do with it
* Follow through to completion

The next time you blow it, try this:

"You're right, I blew it. I apologize. Here's what I plan to do to get this back on track..."

Skip the explanation of why you dropped the ball (unless it is absolutely necessary) and go straight to taking full responsibility and moving forward.

I know all this sounds simple, but it must not be that simple. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it...at least most of the time.

Oops, I have to go. I'm late for an appoinment. But it's not my fault...I had to get this blog post done. I'm sure my client will understand.

1 Comment

  1. Randall

    Very practical and simple. . .great advice!

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