How to Bounce Back After Making an Uncharacteristic and Costly Mistake at Work.

How to Bounce Back After Making an Uncharacteristic and Costly Mistake at Work.Question: I am a marketing manager of a pharmaceutical company and really enjoy my job. Normally I receive nothing but praise from the owners of the company and have always felt confident in my role. But a few weeks ago, I made a major mistake that cost our company an important client. My boss was clearly disappointed and he had to explain the situation to the owners. I feel that since it has happened, I have been sidelined and my confidence has been seriously knocked. How can I express my regret, earn respect and build my confidence again? Answer: It is almost inevitable that occasionally in our working lives mistakes occur. We have to own up to them, fix them if possible and then move on. Unfortunately, your mistake seems to be continuing to impact on how you feel about the organisation, your work and your relationship with your team. You have to take some action to ensure that it doesn’t continue to impact on your work. Here are some steps that might help to move forward. 1 Forgive yourself Although this sounds like a cliche, thinking through your error, accepting your mistake, and moving on personally will impact on how you can move on. It appears that your error in judgement has impacted your confidence negatively and this will affect your work. However, you have said that your record previously was exceptional, you were well received by your team and often acknowledged for this success. You need to try to focus on these positive reflections of yourself, rather than negatives. Take the time to consciously forgive yourself for the mistake. 2 Accept responsibility Be very clear with your manager that you realise the impact of your error and accept responsibility. Request a meeting specifically to discuss the issue. Approach this professionally and keep the tone serious with a focus on the future, rather than apologetic without clear direction. Prepare thoroughly by investigating the root cause of the issue and take care to outline key learnings before you go into the meeting. It is important that you strike a balance that acknowledges your error and the impact this has had on the business but also analyses potential improvements to the process. 3 Prevent a repeat The most important element of accepting responsibility, and therefore preventing an ongoing impact of your error, is developing a mechanism to prevent re-occurrences. In investigating and thoroughly understanding the incident, you should also look for the points of weakness in your process. Could checks and balances be put in place to alert you to danger prior to a major mistake being made? Could a backup plan be developed to repair any damage prior to the customer removing their business? Is there any remedy for the situation with the customer? Could there be a way to win the business back – or at least mend bridges? Implementing improvements in how you do your work will prove to management and your colleagues that you are still capable in your role. But, just as importantly, it will also help to rebuild your own confidence. 4 Challenge yourself Continue to build your confidence by setting slightly stretching targets or participating in new projects. The start of a new year is a good time to set goals or targets for the year – or for the first half or quarter of the year. Set your usual goals but then set a stretch goal, which is an additional goal in case you exceed your initial goal. This will show initiative. However, because of your recent experience, try to minimise the risk level of your tasks or projects during this period. This is because your anxiety levels are likely heightened and it could result in you making further mistakes, which would only prove to damage your confidence further. Achieving these goals, or completing a new project, will help you to feel competent in your role again, as well as proving your worth to your colleagues. Setting achievable ongoing targets will also reinforce a more positive impression of your own ability as a whole.           Caroline Ward HR Services Manager Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article was first published in the business section of The Sunday Independent, on January 14th, and the original version can be read...

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10 Tips for Landing Your Dream Job in 2018

It’s January and most people’s thoughts are on the things they want to change in their lives in the New Year. One of the biggest alterations a person can make is taking a new direction in their career so, every year, “finding the dream job” is usually high up on many people’s New Year’s resolutions list. However, by the end of January, many of the changes that were so urgent and important at the end of December, have gone by the wayside as we slip back into the comfort of our old workplace and familiar routine. Moving jobs or changing careers can be a scary prospect and sometimes people think that it is easier for them to stay where they are — even if they are unhappy — rather than make a fresh start. But there is no reason why landing your dream job cannot become a reality for you in 2018. What you need is a plan; a roadmap that will give you the structure you need to stay disciplined in pursuit of your goals. If your New Year’s resolution is to progress your career, you can’t afford to be casual in the way you pursue it. Most people think that all they have to do is update their CV, send it out to a few agencies, and sit back and wait for the job offers to come in. They are wrong. If you are serious about developing your career in 2018, here are 10 things you can do to make it a reality:   Set your goal. You can’t progress your career if you don’t know what you want to do....

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Dealing With The Difficult Task of Making a Close Friend Redundant

Question: Last year, a promotion came up at the IT firm where I work. A colleague and close friend pushed me to put myself forward. When I got the job she was the first to celebrate with me. Now, due to budget restraints, the company is downsizing and I have been tasked with letting a number of staff go. I was gutted to see my friend’s name on the list and have no idea how to break the news to her. Can you advise me on how I can approach this situation without losing her friendship? Answer: This is no doubt a very challenging time for you both personally and professionally. Supervising a friend can have its benefits if they are a loyal follower of yours and ensure that at no time they let the side down. But it can have its challenges when tough discussions must take place such as terminations. You have to consider how to have this uncomfortable discussion with the hope of minimal damage to the personal relationship. Planning the conversation and the following pointers will help you to approach it in a more professional light. Be prepared for an emotional response. How you handle this will determine the future status of your friendship. 1. Make the conversation brief: Be brief when having the ‘manager’ conversation and offer yourself for the ‘friend’ conversation after work. Keep the actual conversation brief and isolate your friendship until this is delivered – this is important for both your own state of mind and for the way your friend perceives the action. 2. Don’t procrastinate: Be direct about the...

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How can I ensure my boss gives me a fair reference when she is unhappy I am leaving?

Question: I’ve been working in the marketing and sales department of an engineering firm for the last three years. I meet all my quarterly targets; I am a good team worker and have exceeded the expectations required of me. My pay is substantially below the market average, so recently I asked for a pay raise and a promotion. I was turned down and my manager also refused to review my salary further down the line. Since then I have started to look for a new job and have been open about my search with my boss who was not happy. I had an interview with a firm which went great. However, I am worried my boss will give me a bad and unfair reference. How can I prevent this? Answer: There appears to be a ceiling in your organisation preventing you from advancing further and from receiving a salary increase. This may or may not be down to your manager’s influence. Strategic plans, budget or established processes may also have an impact. According to your outline above, your approach to date has been quite positive and open. Although your situation at your organisation is becoming increasingly difficult, it is in your best interest for your future career to continue this approach and leave the organisation on a positive note, or without burning any bridges. However, making the transition from one organisation to another can be difficult; balancing the move away from your employer with your move to a new role requires a sensitive and professional approach. Hopefully any concerns regarding your manager providing a negative reference are unfounded but...

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I was horrified to learn I am paid less than male colleagues – how do I reduce the gap?

Question: With all the talk about the gender pay gap in the news recently, I started to wonder if my pay was on a par with my male colleagues so I did a bit of asking around. I was horrified to find out that not only was my pay substantially less than my male counterparts, it was also fairly significantly less than one more junior male member of my team – a person who I manage. I have found it hard to bite my tongue, but I have no idea how to tackle the issue as we do not have pay scales in work and I only found out the differences as I started asking. How should I broach this with my boss? Answer: I can imagine this was a great shock and I would hope that, in this day and age, you are in a minority as many companies have started to address gender pay differences and are being proactive in ensuring that pay scales are in place. There should be no discrepancies between male and female workers in the same role and I would suggest all companies review pay to ensure there are no obvious gaps. The safest way is to tie in pay scales directly to market value for the role at hand, which leaves a narrow range for negotiation and addresses unfair pay gaps. Organisations should conduct annual pay-equity analysis to ensure pay is in line with relevant variables such as market value, employee experience, annual performance reviews, etc. Some companies are introducing total ‘pay transparency’, which allows everyone to be aware of what their...

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I’m worried about how I’m going to make my mark as a young first-time Team Leader

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