Oops! How to Inspire Trust in the Workplace After a Mistake

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Your first major mistake in the workplace has just occurred. Maybe the funding for payroll is late, or you had to make last minute changes to a team’s project without their knowledge. Either way, team buy-in is plummeting and you are not sure where you stand in the midst of things. Being a great leader does not require perfection. It does, however, require one to know when to own up to their shortcomings. While the damage is done, all hope isn’t lost as leaders can still mend fences with their people.

Here’s how to inspire trust in the workplace after the fallout has occurred.

Own it

So you’ve messed up—it happens. The best way to keep up company morale is to address the issue head on. When there are gaps in an explanation, people can Be honest that a problem has occurred and take responsibility. If payroll is going to be a few days late, transparency is the key to handling the situation. No one enjoys the run-around—especially when it comes to his or her income. 

Map out a solution

Now that you’ve aired the bad news, provide a solution. In this scenario, the payroll didn’t get finished due to time constraints. Finding a payroll vendor can mitigate the risk of delivering your people’s checks on time. In addition to fixing the problem, you are demonstrating to your team that you care and are on top of keeping your people happy. Once the solution is in place, don’t forget to circle back to your team.

Follow up

After the problem has been solved, check in with your team to see how they are adjusting to the new solution. In doing so, you have given your team the opportunity to be heard and to be part of the resolution. It’s also a great PR moment for the leader as it’s a quick moment to showcase that the leadership team wants to do right by their people.

The takeaway

Even with the best intentions, leaders can mess up from time to time. In moments like this, your teams trust can shake, so how a leadership team handles the next series of events is especially critical. Remember to get in front of the situation and provide a sense of transparency. Explain how you plan to resolve the problem and check in with your people to see if the solution measures up to expectations. When leaders take an active role in promoting a problem-solving work culture, their approval rating soars even in troubled times.

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