Humans at work. Tread softly.

As a business owner, you have to allow yourself to be human also. When you make a mistake, as humans inevitably do, there’s nothing wrong with admitting it.

Here are some real-life examples.

Quoting too high on a project. This happened to me recently. I was offered a job I don’t often do, and quoted a rate way above what’s acceptable. After doing my homework, which I should have done in the first place, I realized my mistake. Even though I felt silly, I contacted the potential client and gave him a realistic, fair quote. Will I get the client? Maybe. Maybe not. But I definitely showed my human side.

Missing a deadline. While not a wise thing to do, it may happen despite your best efforts. Sometimes life gets in the way. Or perhaps you miscalculated the time necessary to complete the project. What’s important is that you communicate with your client. Let the client know what’s going on, and do your best work. Ultimately, the client may be lost. But you might have redeemed yourself to some extent by being honest.

Forgetting to return a call or email. I received an email from a potential client I wrote almost a year ago. Her kind note apologized for her late reply, which happened because she put the wrong email address in her reply. We never wound up working together, but her message reminded me that admitting a mistake isn’t the end of the world. What do you have to lose?

Basically, we’re all human first and business owners second (or third). Remember this, and don’t beat yourself up (and don’t let anyone else beat you up) when something goes wrong. Be yourself, handle the situation head on, and move on.

What are some other human moments you’ve encountered in your business? How did you handle the situation?

7 Responses to “Humans at work. Tread softly.”

  1. It’s good to see you posting, Theda K.

    And this is good advice – the only thing I might add is sometimes you may need to take some corrective action. For example, if you realize in advance you’re going to miss a deadline and coordinate with the client, that’s probably all you need to do. However, if you expect to be on time and something happens at the last minute so you don’t give the client advance notice, you may want to offer a discount on the work or some kind of bonus for future work – showing that you take responsibility for your actions.

  2. You both are so right – admitting your mistakes, forgiving others, and taking corrective action. I’ve worked on many projects where people have hidden their mistakes, and the end result is never pretty.

    Glad to see you back, Theta!

  3. Theda K. says:

    Thanks for the warm “welcome back,” Lillie and Angela! I’m on leave from my job because my throat hurts too much (I work at a call center…I’ve got laryngitis as a result), so I’m getting back into the swing of things.

    Lillie, thanks for the extra advice. And it looks like I didn’t properly install the threaded comments. Shoot. I’ll figure out what went wrong later. I did activate the plugin…I did not read the readme file though.

    Look for more posts soon.

  4. Great post. In my line of work, communication is key. If you really make an effort to communicate with your clients it makes a huge difference. I read somewhere that like 75% of sales are lost due to not following up. I also believe it’s ok to make mistakes as long as you make it right and communicate that with your clients. Thanks.

    • Theda K. says:

      Hi Barry, thanks for stopping by! I see you’re in Arizona too, and I’ve actually done some real estate writing for the Arizona market (in Scottsdale, ironically). I’ll be in touch, and please let me know if you have any writing needs. Thanks for your comments.

  5. Veronica says:

    i agree with barry..It’s so important to communicate with your employees and clients.

  6. For the most part I agree with you, theda but I still have some reservations. Great post though!