At work, our decisions and actions are measured and scrutinized constantly. Yet, it is impossible to always be right due to the changing, unpredictable circumstances of the corporate world. On top of any repercussions our mistakes might incur for our team and ourselves, there is often a sense of shame that makes it difficult for us to recover from our fault.

We may look back and begin to doubt our decisions, which is the biggest enemy of resilience and self-confidence. Beyond being mentally-consuming, second guessing ourselves can also lead to ineffective decision-making in the future if we stop trusting ourselves. Amy Martinez, a senior faculty member with the Center for Creative Leadership, shares some tips on how we can best move on after making mistakes at work and learn from past experience. According to her, there are five elements that can help restore others’ faith in you, as well as your faith in yourself:

F. Forgive yourself first. If you don’t begin here, you’ll tie up mental energy warring with yourself instead of taking steps to get back on track with others. At the heart of all forgiveness lies a healthy dose of compassion. Turn your compassion inward and silence those negative and judging voices in your head.

A. Acknowledge your mistakes, missteps, or failures with the people you have burdened, wronged, or hurt. And don’t use “hint communication”—be bold and own up to your role in the situation.

I. Impart your desire to rebuild and recover what may have been harmed or lost to the people you’ve disappointed. If you’ve acknowledged the actions that initially got you into the mess, then the next step is to let people know what you’re doing to rectify or mitigate the situation, or what you would be willing to do to set things right. When you’re open about your efforts, you reaffirm your accountability, allowing others to feel like they might trust you again.

T. Trust yourself to follow through on ways to move forward; assume you can and will. Ask for the trust of others, too. You may not get it right away, so be prepared to fuel your motivation by trusting yourself until you’ve earned it from others over time.

H. Harvest what you learn. How has your mistake—and what you’ve learned from it—made you stronger and more effective in your role? What will you try to do differently? What still works? Until you take time to integrate those lessons at a deep level, you may be prone to repeating similar mistakes.

This post was originally published here on USNews.com in June 2012. TheYoungProfessionalGroup.com takes no credit for the work of the author.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *