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How to Convince Your Boss to Give You a Second Chance

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If you've made a work-related blunder and fear you won't be allowed to redeem yourself, don't get discouraged. There's still an opportunity to convince your boss to give you a second chance. To make an effective plea, you must be contrite, apologetic and able to convince your boss that the previous misstep will not occur again.

Fix What Went Wrong

The first step in requesting a second chance is to repair whatever damage was initially done. If there's any way to correct the original problem, do so as soon as possible. For example, if you botched a customer order, contact the client and apologize, then take whatever steps are necessary to rectify the situation and save the account. If you had an altercation with another staff member, apologize and make reparations. Try to reach a consensus regarding your disagreement to ensure such blowups won't happen again.

Be Introspective

Consider the factors that led to your mistake. Maybe you have poor time management skills, fly off the handle too easily or don't provide enough attention to detail in your work. Whatever the underlying issues, acknowledge them to yourself and take proactive steps to change your own attitude and performance levels. Only then can you go to your boss and tell him how you’re addressing your flaws and shortcomings and convince him the same problems won't resurface.

Talk to Your Boss

Ask for a private meeting with your boss to discuss the issue at hand. If you've been removed from a project, demoted, suspended or even terminated, it's vital to act quickly. Don't make excuses for your lack of judgment or poor performance. Rather, be apologetic, acknowledge how your actions negatively impacted your company and your colleagues, and outline a plan for coming back and performing at optimum levels. Listen to your boss’ concerns and address them to the best of your ability.

Prepare to Perform

If you're given a second chance, it's vital that you attack your work efforts with more gusto and professionalism than ever before. Your boss needs to see you make a concentrated effort to not only perform up to standards, but to surpass them. Be a good team player and request regular feedback from your boss to ensure you're on the right track. If you're initially passed over for plum projects, promotions or other accolades, chalk it up to penance for earlier mistakes and maintain a positive attitude and solid work ethic.


Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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