THE BLOG
08/25/2015 02:57 pm ET Updated Aug 24, 2016

Recovering from a Professional Lie

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Slip-ups such as missing a deadline or running late to an important meeting happen to even the most seasoned executives, but what sets a true leader apart is their ability to own up to the fault and put safeguards into place for the future. A mistake that can be emotionally draining and professionally harmful is turning your misstep into a lie. Being dishonest can damage a relationship and compromise your integrity. However, it is possible to redeem yourself if you are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity.

Here are a few steps to take on the path to professional redemption:

  • Own up to the blunder. Instead of trying to find fault elsewhere, accept responsibility for the wrongdoing. If a boss or coworker has called you out, do not make matters worse by becoming defensive or combative. Admit the bad call, sincerely apologize, and address how you will better navigate this situation in the future.
  • No excuses. Do not take away from your apology by shifting the blame or citing reasons for the lie. Your straightforward admission of guilt should focus on your transgression and not serve as a platform to throw someone else under the bus.
  • Press pause. It is crucial to evaluate your justification of the lie. Now that you have seen the cost, ask yourself why you felt the need to lie in the first place. Were you behind on a deadline, or feeling overwhelmed and exhausted? Set aside a window each day for personal development and self-reflection. Discover what you can do on your end so that you do not succumb to future bad habits.
  • Allow time to rebuild trust. Your business reputation is paramount to your career success. Align your actions with your personal values and goals, not making compromises or taking shortcuts. While it will require some time, your peers and superior(s) will take note of the positive changes you have implemented. Become known for someone who learned a lesson and worked diligently towards an inspiring outcome.
  • Identify key influencers. Take an honest look at your inner circle and seek out sources of accountability who can and will help you grow. Keep company with the best of the best...those you admire with a strong moral compass.
  • Be impeccable with your word and actions. It is important to strive for authentic and open communication in all of your professional relationships. Your boss and associates will appreciate your efforts to turn a bad situation around. Everyone makes mistakes - it is those that do not learn from them that are bad for business.

You may also like Diane's recent article, How to Recover When You Overshare. For more business etiquette tips, visit Diane's blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and Instagram and "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.