Estimated reading time: 2 mins
You made a gaffe and your boss is upset with you. Don’t panic. Here’s how to fix it.
Compose yourself. This can be a shock. I know. You’re probably feeling vulnerable about your job and your future. Don’t spend too long on this, but let the adrenalin subside and get ready to put the situation right. Don’t go bleating to colleagues and say something you might regret. Take this on the chin, and accept the wrap. But don’t beat yourself up about it.
Request private time. Ask your boss (or your boss’s Personal Assistant) to find 15 minutes to meet one-to-one. Do this quick. Or if your boss has an ‘open-door’ policy, and their door is open, then ask to talk now and shut the door. You’re ready to fix the problem.
Apologize sincerely. It’s the most obvious thing to do. Yet it’s surprising how often people don’t do it. Not because they don’t want to. But because they’re too mortified, embarrassed and nervous to do it. But if you don’t, it will look like you don’t care. Grit your teeth, and apologize. Come out with it and don’t sugar-coat it. Tell it like you mean it: “[name]… I messed up. I am sorry. It won’t happen again.” Don’t joke, or say something foolish out of nerves that could make the situation a problem again.
Take the lesson. Your boss may choose to dress you down (if still upset) or offer you a ‘learning opportunity’ (if now calm) – whatever their state of mind, listen to what is being been said, without interruption. You can choose to accept and graciously disappear. If you don’t agree, don’t get defensive, but rather ask your boss if you can provide an alternative view – but understand that you might not resolve.
Thank. Your boss has probably given you another chance. Say thank you and leave it at that!
Warning: Don’t buy gifts. This isn’t just inappropriate, and it isn’t just unnecessary, it is most likely against your organization’s policy. This could be seen as ‘currying favor’, if misinterpreted, or your boss could take offense. Besides, it looks phony.
Warning: Consider your legal position. For all of the above, I am referring to the minor mis-demeanour. If your mistake has contractual or legal implications, then you should probably talk to a qualified legal expert. Admitting guilt could land you in hot water!
- Why Your Job Applications Are Getting Ignored
- What to do when you have burnt bridges with ex-colleagues
- As a High-Performer, You’ve Gotta Cope With Defeat
- What To Do When You Have Messed Up At Work
- 5 Major Gaffes I’ve Made as an IT Manager
- Ask Yourself the RIGHT Question
- 5 Ways To Deal With Criticism and Critics
- Mistakes I Made as a Freelance Web Developer and How To Avoid Them
- Laid Off/Made Redundant? Here’s what to do with your finances
- How to Recover from Upsetting Your Boss – Like a Pro
- How to Cope with Cold-Calling
- Laid Off? 7 Essential Things To Do Immediately After a Lay Off
- ‘I want to stop beating myself up’ – here’s how to do it
- The cure to stress your shrink doesn’t want you to know about…
- Qualified, Experienced but can’t get a job
- Is the evil ‘system’ restricting you?
- How to Get Through a Collapse of Your Business
- Scrappy Startups – How Small Business Can Harness Technology to Compete and Win