This is how you deal with mistakes made by colleagues

It is difficult to endure with some colleaguesGetty Images

# 1 wait and see

A barrel does not always have to be opened. It can be part of a collegial relationship to overlook a mistake. This is especially true if it has occurred for the first time and has had no significant consequences in the truest sense of the word. Keeping still can also be indicated for somewhat more serious errors. It depends on the circumstances and also on the relationship with the colleague in question. Don’t just stop here because it’s the most comfortable. This can lead to secret resentments, of which you are partly responsible. In return, the following also applies: Not denouncing an error is not automatically a sign of weakness – on the contrary.

# 2 address

What to do if the employee keeps making mistakes? Here again it is a requirement of collegiality that one should speak to him about it. This gives him a chance to correct his behavior before the manager can get wind of it. Maybe he is not even aware of the mistake. A personal interview is inevitable even if omissions have a lasting negative impact on your own work. You must not blackmail colleagues. In return, you don’t have to accept that your own reputation will be damaged by others’ mistakes.

# 3 Offer help

Talking about mistakes is a delicate matter. This is especially true if they are conducted between peers who have equal status. The balanced “balance of power” means that those affected quickly feel personally attacked and instructed. It is therefore a matter of sensitivity to address the topic in a friendly and objective manner. Try to identify chronic sources of error. If, for example, deadlines are not kept, it can be productive to clearly define responsibilities and processes. Offer your help and signal that you are always available. Sometimes the uncomfortable question also helps: Am I to blame for my colleague’s mistakes?

# 4 Clear announcement

If errors are simply not eliminated, clear announcements are necessary. Clarify how the omissions affect you and may harm you. Do not underestimate the psychological stress. Anyone who cannot rely on colleagues is inevitably stressed. This is unfair to you and also a reason for clearer words. At this point it may be helpful to consult another colleague.

# 5 consequences

Whether, when and how to draw a line with unteachable error devils depends on your own attitude and willingness to suffer. A final warning shot can be the announcement: If the error occurs again, I have to take consequences. This can mean that you withdraw from the team. As a last step, the line manager may be called in – at the latest when the constant mistakes harm the company. Because even bosses deserve loyalty.

# 6 Small cattle also make a mess

Even an essentially banal mistake becomes annoying at some point if it repeats itself despite multiple speeches. Even the stubbornly incorrect naming of files can cause unnecessary additional effort. Of course, this is basically a trifle that is cleared up with two or three hand movements. Do you have to get upset there? Yes, because the questions arise: Why not do the job right right away? And: Who doesn’t work correctly with such minor details – what about complex issues?


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