Everyone makes mistakes at work, this includes managers and even Board Members.  Fortunately, most mistakes are not ‘terminal’ and there is the opportunity to reflect, learn, and move forward.  These three acts are part of pressing RESET.

Sometimes workplace mistakes are made due to lack of training or tools.  Sometimes, mistakes are the result of fatigue.  Sometimes, there are errors of judgment and poor decision-making.  Rarely, there is intentional desire for corporate harm or harm to a colleague (these are often ‘terminal’ acts).  Setting the latter aside, the first and vital step of RESET is reflection.  This requires a physical and mental stop and reverse – you would never simply throw your car in reverse while moving forward, right?  Stopping, gives the brain a chance to rest and gives you a chance to think clearly.  Reflection means looking backward at the events and asking ‘what happened?’

Learning is the next important part of RESET.  This is the act of unpacking the events to analyse them and understand WHY they happened and HOW to prevent recurrence.  In this way, learning is a protective step that potentially helps you avoid experiencing the same situation (and the negative consequences) again.  If the WHY was related to fatigue due to overwork or lack of training or tools for example, creating an action plan with the help of your employer is essential.

Moving forward is the final step of RESET.  It might sound simple, but often it isn’t.  This is because employees can be plagued by guilt or memories of the experience that keeps them ‘stuck’ and prevents them from moving past the situation.  Moving forward can be assisted by supportive friends and colleagues, a supportive supervisor, and even therapists and coaches.

In the setting of a workplace mistake, the RESET plan requires employees to admit their mistake, rather than hide it or lie about it.  The latter can be tempting, but in reality those acts complicate the situation more and can lead to potentially harsh penalties (and more guilt).  If you are experiencing moral distress about a workplace error or mistake that you participated in, try the RESET approach and start 2022 afresh.

If your organisation would like assistance with training in ethics and how best to respond to workplace mistakes, reach out to us at [email protected]