Credibility – “To Err is Human”…. but when it happens in context with workplace, the perspective change completely. One mistake at workplace and you stand under the scanner and it turns out to be deadly for your reputation as well as your relationship with not just your manager but also the co-workers. It is partially true that once you commit a mistake, you cannot recover from it, but if you take some serious steps and efforts you can certainly recover from the shadows of the slip-up. This is one stop shop guide which will provide you with easy to follow steps of damage control. All you need is to keep your head up, instead of shutting down after committing the fault.
Mostly when your words and actions are incapable of aligning with each other you are bound to fall into the Credibility Gap. When this credibility gap arises at your workplace it just impacts and damages your reputation, and finally affects your career. Just in case if you are in a customer service role or a leadership role, this kind of credibility gap will certainly harm your organization. The important question in this case is: Do your actions as it is not just the intentions or words depict the values for which you stand? The more aligned your values, actions as well as words are, the smaller credibility gap you will suffer from.
Bridging the Credibility Gap
It takes time as well as huge efforts to bridge or align the gap. It just takes few seconds to lose your credibility, but it is very tough to gain it back. You just need actions along with right words. Think that your words might be perceived as promises as you might be portraying yourself as over promising as well as under delivering. You need to develop as system in order to keep a track of whatever you promise. If you have made any promise within the spur of a moment, or you do not find the resources to keep up with your words, do not start avoiding the issues- rather ask for forgiveness. It is simple, that if you acknowledge that you were unable to keep your promise, you prove that you are more credible. The two very important elements for redeveloping the communication channel are: communication and ownership. So being an employee take the ownership of your mistake or the things you are working on and be transparent while communicating with your team or the manager.
Below are certain steps that will certainly help in rebuilding your credibility and helps in repairing the damage done:
Admit Your Mistake
Whenever you mess up the things at workplace, discussing it will be the last thing that would come to your mind. But the way you take the responsibility for the incident, will the most important element in leaving the kind of impression on the people. Immediately recognize and acknowledge your mistake. Do not start giving reasoning for your mistakes or do not act defensive. The more accepting as well as concerned you will act, the lesser your manager / boss will feel that he/ she should impress the sternness of the error on you.
Usually after committing an error the employee either starts avoiding their boss or start keeping low. You might feel very embarrassing or nervous to discuss it. But it is better to take feedback on the blunder you have committed from your manager/ boss. This is the most unpleasant action taken by you that is to avoid. Just in case your boss has some major trouble regarding the matter or related to you, avoiding or going underground will simply exaggerate the issue. Keep the communication lines open; convince your boss that you are now doing really nice and impressive work. This will certainly help in mitigating the issue.
Avoid being panicked
A natural reaction to any wrong doing is getting panicked or you might get obsessed that now you might be seen in negative spotlight. But it is suggested that you keep all these negative thoughts at the back of your mind, because sticking to these negative thoughts will always keep you tensed. Your mental space will be preoccupied with these thoughts only and this will create situations where you will more likely create another blunder – completely opposite of what you will ever want in the workplace to happen. Leave the mistake that you have committed and bury it, do not get obsessed about it. Just keep in mind that most of the people who commit mistakes at the workplace are not getting fired even for big errors. So keep your cool!
Take Control of Your Emotions
You know very well that now the ball is not in your court and you are in a mess, but it is the manner in which you handle the situation that matters the most. So handle it in the right way as it can matter a lot in the long run. Avoid panicking or simply harping on your mistake and blaming yourself again and again about it, just take a pause and the start afresh adopting a rational approach towards the entire situation. Ty to find out – what, why how and where did the things go wrong? Ponder over the matter and plan your next steps which should never ever be extreme ones. Neither hit the panic button, nor start avoiding or acting too sentimental about the mistake. Do not let your emotions ruin your career path or future in the organization, stay strong and keep you will stronger to handle even the worst situation strongly.
Give your 100%
The situation is already messed up, and to regain that position in the eyes of your boss and colleagues, you need to take more responsibilities and complete it before time without comprising on quality. It is no more about what is being assigned to you, but taking initiative and delivering the completed tasks before time. Start coming to work before time. Stay late. Do overtimes. Make sure your efforts show up. Give more than hundred percent. Unveil the side of your personality that even you have been unaware of. Be on your toes and deliver. Don’t over think. Your mistake is past now, what you can do is just improve the situation by pacifying the loss and creating profits by what you are doing now and will be doing in the future. A human mind tends to remember 1 negative for 10 positives. Do as many positives as you can in such a manner that 1 positive equals 10 positives, so that any negative cannot be seen.
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Analysing a mistake can be really helpful as it helps an individual learn from it and avoid any situation that might lead to that mistake again or anything even near it. However, analysing yourself will help you determine where you lack, what could have gone wrong on your end, what did you miss on, etc.
Therefore, self analysis plays a vital role in rebuilding your credibility as it explains the hows and why’s of the mistake from your end. Thus, it helps the individual become aware and exposed to their areas of weakness, what all opportunities lie ahead, how his/her strengths could have proved helpful, etc. so that in the future he/she is not only prepared and aware but also share the self analysis report with the team to further help them in avoiding such situations.
Don’t make promises that you can’t keep
You are already in a mess, and bragging about unrealistic goals can only further ruin your opportunity to re-establish yourself. This is a very tricky situation where the only option you have is to measure your words and then speak. Thus, taking hasty decisions that cannot be completed is a total waste. In this sensitive situation, you have to take responsibility with a sense of accomplishment of the promise if you are making any. Remember, think before you speak anything as it might either work wonders for you or might take you to the exit door if acted in an over-smart and over-confident manner.
Ask for Feedback
It is very important to accept your mistake and analyse the situation that has put you at the weak spot. It is not only you who has been affected by your fault or mistake, but also your team and most importantly your immediate boss. Seeking help and feedback from them can make you improve significantly. Ask your boss or manager to appraise your performance. It will be critical feedback, however, accept it gracefully and positively and assure your boss and most importantly yourself to work on it. Talk to your team members and see what they are doing to constantly improve and pacify your mistake. Learn from the best performers, because there is a reason they are at the top.
Feedback’s are the best way to assess your performance from others’ point of view as they are the ones who can actually determine your traits without any bias.
Change your Body Language and Attitude
Body Language is an important form of communication. Your postures, gestures, voice, intonation, habits, etc. reflect your personality. Therefore, just accepting your mistake and apologizing does not make things normal, if you are still that old person before realizing the mistake you had made.
Your body language should convey the message clearly that you feel sorry for what happened by:
- Keeping yourself low-profile
- Engaging in work
- Managing time efficiently
- Taking initiatives
- Not being involved in gossips or chats
- Not humble-bragging, etc.
These are some of the things that you can do that display your seriousness towards the issue and responsible personality at your workplace.
Changing your attitude is also as important as it is changing your body language. In this situation people might look at you with negativity or might even try lowering your confidence and esteem, but you need to have a positive attitude towards everything. Always maintain and respect healthy competition. Do not let your mistake take you aback. While keeping quiet and serious, prepare yourself for a bang-on comeback.
Be organised and professional
The reason for the mess might be your unorganised mind or desk or taking things too lightly. It completely depends on your mental ability to turn the odds towards your side. Gather yourself together and restart afresh. Remember, ‘neatness counts’. We are human beings after all, therefore accept the fact that sometimes random thoughts from work and personal life mix and create chaos in the mind, thus, leaving you un-organized and confused. This might directly affect your performance at your workplace. Sometimes, a situation at home might leave you shattered, but you just cannot take it to work because that is your professional life.
It becomes very important to leave your personal chaos outside the workplace and maintain equilibrium between work and personal life. Be professional and keep your desk, documents, and files organised.
Everyone goes through ups and downs at the workplace. There might be situations, when your boss or colleagues lose their trust on you, for doing something wrong. However, making excuses or blaming others might ruin the situation. But remember, this can happen with anyone and trust can always be rebuilt by assessing the situation and knowing where you went wrong. It takes doing the right things over a long period of time. But in most cases, it won’t take that long. Just own your faults, change your attitude, and become more responsible and sincere. You can get a benefit of doubt once, but not all the time. Your actions will reflect on the business’s books of accounts and will decide your tenure in the company as well. Give your 100% and make sure your efforts are visible and help you regain your credibility amongst your team members and in the company.