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Regaining respect after an egregious mistake

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in Workplace Communication

Q. During my first week at a new job, I made a colossal blunder: I gave what turned out to be terrible advice to my boss. Now it’ll be hard to regain my credibility. And I’ve lost confidence in myself. How can I bounce back?

A. Level with your boss. In a calm moment, explain your thinking and why it was faulty. Provide analysis, not an apology.

Observe your boss carefully to gauge her reaction, and when she jumps in let her speak. Don’t interrupt. If you’re lucky, she will be fair and share an anecdote about how she once made a similar mistake. If she comes down hard and expresses disappointment in you, admit that you’re equally disappointed in yourself. Conclude by saying, “My goal is that a few months from now, we can look back on this as a rookie mistake.”

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