Career Woman

You’ve got this: what to do when you’ve made a big mistake

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Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew answers your questions, putting her years of experience and practice into the goal of solving those knotty problems that beset us, and assuring us: ‘you’ve got this’. If you’d like Froswa’ to look at your particular problem, email it to [email protected].

Question:  I made a massive, huge error with an account last month, and we lost it. They were one of our most important clients. I feel dreadful, and six weeks later it is still gnawing at me day and night. I feel like everybody hates me. Should I just resign? Anne.

Anne,

I cannot imagine the stress that you are experiencing.  What a weight to carry!  I am concerned that you are taking a lot of responsibility for something that others may have some involvement in the outcome.  Are there no checks and balances at your company to ensure that multiple eyes are reviewing projects?  Are you the sole leader in charge and if not, how was the leader not aware of what was going on?  I appreciate that you are taking responsibility for this problem but I believe that this is an opportunity to review internal process and protocols when dealing with projects and accounts at your organization.  If these systems are in place, then could this be an opportunity to re-evaluate what went wrong and to course correct for the future?

I would like to suggest that you bring your boss as well as your team together to discuss what happened.  This could be a real opportunity to create a community of practice to discuss what went wrong and how it can be avoided in the future.  I also believe it is an opportunity to stop the elephant in the room from continuing to roam around.  Discuss this with your supervisor first.  I would ask to set up a meeting with your co-workers and own what happened.  If you can seek the counsel of a neutral party to serve as a facilitator to mediate the conversation, that would be best.  Ground rules must be set first to establish boundaries and acceptable behavior in the meeting so that it doesn’t become a complaining session but has tangible results with follow up assignments.  Acknowledge the role you played in this and share your thoughts on what went wrong but also be open to feedback.

I don’t think everyone hates you but they, too, are worried about the implications this has for their work and employment.  Just as you are experiencing a series of emotions, they are doing the same.  Ignoring this will only create hostility and more resentment.  It has to be addressed but make sure that you have support from your leadership or HR to do this in moving forward. If in six weeks after the conversation, things have continued to worsen and it becomes really toxic, then for your own sanity, make a decision about what is in your best interest…to stay or move on.  We all make mistakes.  It takes a very amazing woman to own it.  You. Got. This, Anne.

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted and profiled in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe.

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