There is almost no one who hasn't made a mistake - perhaps even a truly bad mistake - at one time or other. It feels bad enough when it is a mistake that affects you or your family directly. But what do you do as a competent virtual assistant, if you make a really bad mistake?
Regardless of whether you are a virtual assistant who works for a company as an employee, or one who is entrepreneurial and takes on individual clients' projects, making a mistake is never something you want to handle. But we are all human and there may be a time when something you do (or don't do, as the case may be) has a serious adverse effect on your employer or client's life or business or both.
Let's take a look at five key guidelines that will help you make it through the crisis and, hopefully, set things right for your employer or client, and stay employed.
You want to hide under your pillows and pretend it never happened. Believe me I know. But that is the worst thing you could do. The number one thing to do is to take very fast action. If there is information to gather, do so, and immediately let your boss or client know you need to speak with them urgently. Don't alarm them, be professional but emphasize how important it is that you speak within the day, and privately.
Tell your boss precisely what has happened. Tell him or her very clearly - outline the problem, what you did and the impact you believe it may have. Be professional and calm. You may very well be scolded, shamed and/or get yelled at. Expect it, but don't cower if it should happen. But it would never be a good choice to brush the mistake under the proverbial rug. Be honest, forthright and be quick about it. Never let anyone else be the one to tell your boss. It may appear to your boss that you were actually acting devious and cover things up in hopes they won't find out.
It is very important that you hold your own. You have told your boss and you have apologized. Now don't do the usual "beat up on self." You made a mistake but that doesn't mean you need to take it to the "enth" degree of self-blame and self-criticism. Some people will take an opportunity where they have made a mistake and they will internally call themselves all sorts of hateful things. Don't do it!
A long time ago I had a boss who told me "Never come to me with a problem if you haven't also got a suggestion as to how we might fix the problem." He was exactly right. Before you even get to speak with your boss or client make sure you have gone through as many thoughts and listed potential steps you can take to turn things around. Be solution-oriented.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."
Take whatever action steps you and your boss decide upon. Take whatever responsibility is needed to fix the situation or problem personally. Demonstrate your dedication, and be willing to "take the fall." If there is any hope of turning the situation around, let your boss know you will find it.
At the very least, even if there is almost no way out of the problem you've caused for your employer, the fact that you have come up with potential solutions and are fully ready, willing and able to take it on to fix the problem, that may make an even bigger impression on your boss than anything else.
Finally, Guideline Five is simple...
Ask yourself, "What could I have done differently?"
Contrary to many highly capable virtual assistants DO ask for help if needed. It is a vital component to help you carry out all of the things you need to do to turn the situation around.
In some cases you may get fired. In still other cases it may sully your reputation if, say, you work within a team or in a specific niche industry. Hold your head up high and know that in time you can and will redeem yourself.
About the Author:
Rev. Dr. Christina Winsey is a women's empowerment coach, and author and speaker. Clients reduce stress, gain confidence, improve health, lose weight and conquer negative habits and addictions. See her blog atwww.ChristinaWinsey.com, or her websiteat www.TheICanDoctor.com