Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes. Confucius.
It can be hard for some people to admit when they have made a mistake, especially if it takes time and money to correct it. But the mark of a professional is the ability to be gracious when apologizing for an error or inconvenience.
When you make a mistake that requires an apology, stay calm. Ask who will be affected by this mistake, whom you need to inform, and what can you do to correct it or mitigate the fallout. It is important to apologize immediately if you want to continue the relationship and move on. While waiting may seem attractive, delaying the apology may damage the relationship more.
Apologize quickly and get to the point. Focus on the future and how you will fix things. Example: “I made an error in the numbers I sent to finance. I apologize for the mistake. I have already called Jason and faxed him the corrected page.” Avoid long-winded explanations that quickly sound like excuses.
An apology should be a personal communication -- either oral or written. If at all possible, do not apologize via email. Use the telephone, visit in person, or write a personal note -- preferably handwritten.
Good business etiquette can do wonders for your professional image and build positive working relationships. Poor business etiquette can cause serious offense, damage workplace relationships, alienate customers and colleagues, and undermine teamwork. How well you come across to others and how effectively you build and maintain productive workplace relationships. Check out Patricia's workshop Business Etiquette for the Workplace.