How to Weather a Storm at Work
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us have lived through that incredibly bad moment when we realize we have made a crucial mistake that could create a crisis.
I remember quite vividly showing up at a key presentation with a wrong chunk of information. Everything else was in place, but there was one wrong part. With a little juggling I managed to distract the audience and retrieve the mistaken material. Usually we are not that lucky and we have to face the music.
Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, an agency that services 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, tells us how to accept the inevitable and turn the situation into a calm one.
Often, people facing a crisis simply command themselves to remain calm -- which seldom works. The mind keeps right on picturing all sorts of horrible consequences.
On the other hand, people who successfully work their way through a crisis know how to turn their emotions into a positive force. They take anxiety and turn it into energy and action.
How to Make the Switch
Use your powers of logic and reasoning to analyze what is happening.
Keep a real perspective - No matter how large or embarrassing a mistake becomes, it is unlikely that it will cost you your job or your financial well-being. Ask yourself if this will matter five years from now. Consider what could be the worst outcome that could happen. Then work on ways to deal with the mistake and move on.
Compare the mishap to others - It may not seem so devastating if you compare it to other similar situations that you have seen. As you think about how those errors played out, yours may not seem as damaging as you thought.
Drill down into the details - Once you have accepted the mistake ask yourself what really happened. What will be the fallout? Who will be involved, and what can be done to resolve the error?
Start turning things around - After you have pinned down the details, take responsibility for the mistake and start working on ways to turn the situation around. As you become involved in the cleanup, you may find answers that work even better than the old solutions.
Stop playing Superman - Everybody has to give up their cape at some point and join the rest of the population to be human. We all make mistakes, but learning how to accept them, take responsibility, and follow through with sound corrections is the real test.
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