Collector - May 2020 - 40

CREATIVESOLUTIONS

Human Error
What to do when you've made a mistake at work.
By Ronna Denny

E

veryone makes
mistakes.
We've all heard
that statement, and
yet when we make a
mistake at work, we
often panic. What
should we do in this situation? Should we
correct the error and bring it to someone's
attention, or should we walk away, hoping
others miss it? I guarantee that you have
employees struggling with this question
every day.
The truth is that the answer depends on
the mistake. We can correct some errors
within our work processes without issue.
However, there are mistakes made at work
that can be serious. Some mistakes can
endanger a client relationship or cause legal
problems for yourself and your employer.
Upon discovering the error, don't react
right away. Instead, analyze the situation by
asking some essential questions:
*	 What was the mistake?
*	 What steps led to the mistake?
*	 What are the actual consequences of
the mistake?
*	 What are the potential consequences of
the mistake?
*	 What can we do differently?
*	 How can this be prevented in
the future?
If the mistake is something that you can
address, act immediately. If the goof is not
fixable, come up with a couple of solutions
to the problem before stepping away from
your station.
In my opinion, the essential step
to take after a mistake is to admit the
error. Your boss should be informed as
soon as possible once you discover the
misstep. If you try and hide the blunder,
you will end up looking dishonest,

40

which can be career suicide. Be upfront,
demonstrate professionalism and prove
good character by stepping forward and
admitting the issue.
Apologize if necessary, but do not make
excuses or try to justify the situation. A
simple statement is all that is needed:
"I made a mistake, and I'm working on
correcting it ASAP."
Embarrassment, shame and worry
are normal feelings to experience in this
scenario. Take a deep breath. You will get
through this and have a chance to enhance
your reputation in the process. How
you choose to move forward will play a
significant role.
Allow yourself to feel awful in response
to a stressful situation. Do not dwell on
those emotions, though; let the feeling pass
and find a solution to move forward. There
are few jobs where making an error is a lifeor-death situation.
Refrain from negative self-talk. Ask for
constructive feedback from others after
they've reviewed the situation. Use the
error as a chance to learn and grow. If you
learn from the circumstances, you will not
repeat the mistake.
There may be consequences for some
of our mistakes, but our mind often
exaggerates and distorts the "could be"
consequences. Whatever the result is,
accept it and be at peace. If you are
typically a high performer and the error
is unintentional, chances are you will
be fine.

CREATIVE
SOLUTIONS

Ronna Denny is the senior vice president of
client services for CollectionCenter Inc. She
earned her bachelor's degree from Montana
State University-Billings and believes the
accounts receivable management industry
is vital to the world's economy.

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - May 2020

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