How to Recover From a Workplace Failure

— June 12, 2017

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Nobody likes receiving bad news—especially not about their own workplace performance. Being told by a boss or a superior that you’re on thin ice can be daunting, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your career. There are always ways to bounce back from workplace blunders and bad performance reviews.

Let me offer some suggestions for dealing with a few common workplace mishaps.

You Missed a Major Deadline

Failing to complete a project on time makes you look irresponsible—no matter how many legitimate excuses you may have. So, I’d recommend skipping the excuses altogether and instead focusing on taking responsibility. Let your supervisor know that you understand how the missed deadline impacts the business’ bottom line, and be proactive in coming up with some ways to prevent missing any deadlines again. You might even try to take on some smaller, easier projects to give yourself a few wins—lest you become known around the office for missing deadlines or turning in tardy work.

You Argued with a Client

“The customer is always right.” That’s a difficult truism to live up to when you have a client who’s being unreasonable, yet it’s still vital to not let yourself sink to that level. You just can’t get into unruly fights with clients—but if you do, here’s how I’d recommend coming back from it. First, try to size up the damage—there’s a difference between arguing with one of 1,000 clients, or arguing with one quarter of your total business. Then, be candid with your boss about why the argument happened, all the while making it clear that you understand the impact on the company. Don’t lie—just lay out the facts of the incident. In many cases, supervisors will be glad for your candor.

Your Performance is Sloppy

Finally, what do you do when your boss tells you that your work simply hasn’t been up to par? There are a few options here, but the most important thing you can do is take an honest self-inventory. Where are the areas you’re falling flat—and can you identify the reasons why? You may need to develop a whole new work routine or rhythm to help improve your performance—installing Facebook-blocking software, starting your work day a little earlier, taking lunch at a different time, or something similar.

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Author: Rick Goodman

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