How to Manage Mistakes

Managing Mistakes Flickr Pink Shebert Photography

How you handle obstacles in your path can be a valuable learning experience.

Have you ever made a mistake and felt overwhelmed by the prospect of overcoming it? Calm yourself and clear your head—it’s fixable! “That you make a mistake is not nearly as important as what you do about them,” emphasizes Ramon Green, career coach and founder of the popular blog Common Sense At Work. Basically, how you handle a blunder can increase your clients’ confidence in you and improve their perception of your salon—so what you do to fix the mistake and move forward has a greater impact on the future of your business than the original flub.


The best way to advance through slips is to formulate a plan. Once you accept that you goofed up, which is the first move, you can follow the steps that achievers take to come out on top. Green shares with us guidelines for not only learning from your mistakes, but also working through them.


No. 1: Accept responsibility. Gaffes don’t improve by ignoring them or throwing blame elsewhere. Have a short and sweet pity party and put it behind you. Green says a client of his who is a psychologist once shared this sage advice with him: “You can visit pity city, but you can’t move in.” Ask yourself how much this will matter in one week, one month and one year.


No. 2: Take a deep breath and lighten up on yourself. Stop long enough to assess that you have, in fact, made a mistake in order to regain your composure before you fall too far. No matter how long you have been on the wrong path, it’s never too late to turn back and right yourself and your company. Many times ego gets in the way of clear and concise information right in front of our eyes.


No. 3: Clear your head so you can gather the facts objectively. Don’t sugar coat the problem. Assess the damage and gather the facts from all the parties involved, even if it’s uncomfortable. Only by getting all the facts can you truly define the mistake and its repercussions. Also, don’t promise solutions before you truly understand the problem. Assure all parties involved that you are considering the matter and assessing the proper steps to remedy the mistake. Once the damage has been assessed, meet with everyone to formulate a plan of action.


No. 4: Take action. First, ensure that anyone who needs to know about the flub hears the information from you, not others. Next, you can implement your plan. Confidently handling mistakes has a positive impact on your integrity while handling them poorly damages your image.


No. 5: Follow up. Have a meeting with all parties involved once action has been taken. Has the problem been resolved? How can this mistake be avoided in the future? What did you learn? How did you grow from the experience?


When confronted with any issue, it’s difficult to remember is that you can live through it and so can your business. Moving forward and learning from your mistakes clears the path to a successful business.


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