Friday 12 January 2024

Overcoming Workplace Mistakes

Making mistakes is all part and parcel of being human and an inevitable part of professional life, especially when we’re feeling under pressure or trying to juggle too many things in our live. However, when not handled appropriately, these mistakes can adversely impact our wellbeing. Through undertaking effective strategies and methods to overcome mistakes at work, we can maintain mental wellbeing and advance our personal growth.

Understanding the psychological impact

When we make mistakes at work it can trigger a range of negative emotions, such as guilt, shame and self-doubt. These emotions, if left unaddressed, can have a detrimental effect on our overall wellbeing and may cause stress, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence. By taking a proactive approach in dealing with our mistakes, we create an environment that encourages growth rather than self-punishment.

1. Acceptance and ownership

Before we can overcome our mistakes it’s important to acknowledge and accept them. By recognising our errors and taking ownership, we free ourselves from the burden of denial. Rather than blaming others or making excuses, we should embrace our mistakes as learning opportunities. In a study by the International Journal of Educational Research, it was found that: “A workplace culture of learning from mistakes stands to maximise them as effective learning experiences”.

2. Self-compassion

Self-compassion plays a vital role in how we deal with our own mistakes. When we treat ourselves with kindness and understanding, we cultivate a sense of emotional resilience. Self-compassion emphasises the importance of recognising that mistakes are a normal part of being human. Practising self-compassion involves reframing negative self-talk, avoiding self-criticism and offering ourselves the same kindness we would give to others.

3. Effective communication

Addressing our mistakes requires open and effective communication with colleagues and managers. By taking responsibility for our errors and offering solutions, we can rebuild trust and credibility. Open and honest communication is a crucial component of building relationships, both personally and professionally. Timely and transparent communication can prevent misunderstandings, improve collaboration and create a more supportive workplace culture.

4. Seek feedback and learn

Another aspect of overcoming mistakes at work is listening to constructive feedback from colleagues and supervisors. Feedback provides valuable insight into areas where we might need improvement and it allows for personal and professional growth. When we receive positive feedback, it triggers the brain's reward system, enabling us to process information effectively and improve our emotional and mental wellbeing. When we accept feedback as a means of growth, rather than as a criticism, it encourages us to strive for improvement.

5. Set realistic goals

By setting ourselves realistic goals at work, we can avoid certain mistakes and any stressful aftermath they may cause. When we set clear expectations and achievable objectives, we can minimise the likelihood of recurrent errors which in turn will reduce stress and anxiety. Setting goals also provides us with a greater sense of purpose and increases our motivation, which leads to improved performance and job satisfaction.