How Do You Ask for a Second Chance at Work?

How do you ask for a second chance at work?

To help you know how to ask for a second chance at work, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best advice. From choosing a good time to apologize to showing you can be trusted, there are a number of ways you may use to ask for a second chance when you make mistakes at work.

Here are five ways to ask for a second chance at work:

  • Choose A Good Time To Apologize
  • Create Specific Plan for Improvement
  • Be Transparent and Set Achievable Goals
  • Take Ownership and Confess
  • Show You Can Be Trusted


Choose A Good Time To Apologize

There are some important facts to keep in mind when asking for a second chance at work. Before you go in to see your boss, try to avoid sounding like a beaten dog. You might want to apologize, but it’s not a good idea to do this in the very first meeting. Wait for the right time. I would recommend waiting until the healing has begun. Because if you do it too soon, you will come across as insincere. Make sure that you have acknowledged your fault. You might want to say ‘mistakes were made, but now it is time to move forward.’

Ilija Sekulov, Mailbutler


Create Specific Plan for Improvement

Create a clear plan of how you will improve going forward. Be specific–when asking for a second chance, don’t just tell managers that you will improve, tell them how. Managers are far more convinced when an employee has a clear idea of what went wrong the first time with an executable plan for how to prevent it going forward.

John Jacob, Hoist


Be Transparent and Set Achievable Goals

If you sense that your employer is not happy with your performance, then you need to be proactive. Be transparent and let them know that you’re aware that your performance has not been satisfactory lately. Offer a proposal for achievable outcomes within a specific timeframe. This might be a mix of qualitative and quantitative goals. Ask for a weekly check-in where you work with your team leader to review progress. If you achieve your goals, then celebrate that accomplishment and agree on a new set of goals. In the meantime, the weekly check-ins will give you a framework for success while simultaneously strengthening your relationship. Both of these are great ways to improve your standing at work.

Dennis Consorte, Snackable Solutions


Take Ownership and Confess

Honesty is always the best policy but especially after you’ve committed an error that could upend your career. If you’ve committed a major gaffe, go to your manager and confess. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Take ownership but don’t dwell on the mistake. Instead, focus on solving the problem your mistake created. If your team must take on extra work as a result of your mess-up, own that too! Show management you know you did something wrong and now you have a solution. If it’s bigger than a quick fix, ask them if you can be on the team working on it. Show humility without being too hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. What everyone doesn’t do is find a path to get beyond it.

Patricio Paucar, Navi


Show You Can Be Trusted

Getting a second chance is a matter of trust. Regardless of the context – it applies both to a professional and private environment. As commonly known, “actions speak louder than words”. It is, therefore, crucial to actually show your employer that you can be trusted. In the workplace, the concrete wins over the abstract. While asking for a second chance, focus on past situations which prove that you can make a good employee, colleague and… profit for your company. The more real-life examples you provide, the higher your chances are.

Agata Szczepanek, MyPerfectResume



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