You set off a landmine at work – You Blew It, 5 Tips To Recover From A Work Crisis

You made a mistake. A big one. You blew up at your client, had a bad review with your boss or dropped the ball on the project you were leading. You’re miserable.

You’ve been kicking yourself and slinking around. You’re disappointed and mad at the world. Now what? 

Life has setbacks. They are encouragingly called learning opportunities, but we don’t feel that way in the moment. Everyone has them, there’s a book on CEO’s called “How they blew it”.  

I’ve come across a few “crisis management” moments in my coaching. They come with lots of self recrimination and a strong desire to crawl under the desk and assume the crash position.

So, what can you do to recover?

1-Admit it                                                                                     
First admit to your mistake and show some remorse. If you won’t acknowledge what happened and the problems it caused, then people will think you don’t care. Worse they’ll lose faith in you.

2-Take a moment                                                                          
Take a little time to clear your head
. That may mean a walk around the block or a few days to lick your wounds, either way give yourself a little time to think.

3-Manage it                                                                                     
Get proactive and take control
. Apologise and move on to what needs to happen now. Are you clear what’s expected? If not, check in with someone who can help.

4- Talk it through                                                                            
Let everyone know what you will be doing
to solve the problem and when they can expect that. That’s true of relationships as well as functional things. Acknowledging to someone that you’ve let them down, and you’re going to do your best to rebuild their trust, puts you in charge and moves you forward.

5-Learn from it                                                                             
Show that you’ve learned
what you should have done. It eliminates the fear that they might have a repeat performance. Be honest, clear and fair about how it happened and what you would do differently next time.

The way you handle a mistake can earn you respect from above, below and from your clients. No one wants to work with the person that lashes out and points fingers. Everyone wants to be associated with the person who shouldered the blame, acknowledged the problem and sought out a solution.

If you’ve been through a rough patch and dealt with it well, it will improve your reputation as a problem solver, who doesn’t shirk responsibility.

Best of all, everyone loves a comeback.


  1. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve ****ed up…
    I’ve found that the best approach is to admit to it and accept the blame. Otherwise, it will just worry me to death (I’m a worrier) and drive me mad.

    It helps if you have someone you trust, that you can talk to. I’m looking at you Kathy.

  2. Thanks Ross, I’m honoured, what a nice compliment. I couldn’t agree with you more, dealing with it is the best approach and having a sounding block is really helpful to keep things in perspective.

  3. Ugh. I’m the worst about stressing over past mistakes. I can get myself worked into a tizzy about something I did (and recovered from) years ago. I think it’s just the embarrassment that people realized that you’re not perfect.

    What’s that you say? I’m not perfect? No one’s perfect?

    Oh, yeah. Well that knowledge helps too. Thanks for that.
    (nice post!)

    1. Hi Kathy, thanks for stopping by! It’s amazing how much time, energy and headspace we can dedicate to something we can’t change. There is a saying that your sphere of worry should be equal to your sphere of influence. We can’t undo those past episodes that haunt us, but we can quit giving them the time they take from focusing on the here and now. So sorry to shatter your illusion about being perfect… you know about Santa Clause, right?

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