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Don’t visit your colleague right after the misfire, says consultant Peter Bregman, author of the workplace efficiency book 18 Minutes (R121, kalahari.com). He’ll be stressed. Instead, set up a time to meet before the next screw-up can occur. Be clear and direct, talking about the upcoming situation, not the prior mistake. Then stop talking. Silence locks in the message and allows for a response. Close with how you can best reach the goal together.
Everyone receives direct criticism, Bregman says. Accept it. Don’t interrupt, be defensive, make excuses or argue. Instead, ask questions to show you understand and want to improve. Solicit examples of ways to work through a similar situation. Repeat advice and end by connecting your improvement to the betterment of the work. Remember: don’t take it personally. And a “thank you” doesn’t hurt your reputation either.