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How to Recover from a Work Error

OK, so you screwed up royally. Take a deep breath, and then follow these job-saving measures.


  • Step 1: Admit it Tell your boss you messed up without delay. It will be worse if they hear it later from someone else.
  • Step 2: Take it like an adult Take full responsibility. Don't try to explain it, minimize it, or justify it. Just say you're sorry and move on to damage control.
  • TIP: Don't be a tattle. The boss will admire you for your maturity, and you'll win points with colleagues for taking one for the team.
  • Step 3: Offer solutions Explain how you're going to correct the problem. If it's something that's not easily remedied, offer several options.
  • TIP: Let your boss know you'll make the necessary fixes on your own time so there's no further loss of productivity.
  • Step 4: Learn from your mistake Tell your boss what you've learned from your mistake, and assure them it won't happen again.
  • Step 5: Move on Move forward. Trust us: No one is thinking about your blunder nearly as much as you are!
  • FACT: Did you know? Twenty-eight percent of U.S. workers polled said lack of sleep causes them to make mistakes at work.

You Will Need

  • Honesty
  • An apology
  • Solutions

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