Writing an email to notify your boss of an error is not as difficult as many people imagine. Anyone can make a mistake at the workplace. No matter how meticulous you may be, there are times these things just happen. When it happens, the onus lies on you to correct the error immediately or, if correcting it is beyond your reach or the damage is rather obvious, it is best to inform your immediate superior as soon as possible. Resolving an error may get to be easy and speedy when an authority is let into what has gone wrong; more so if it involves matters that could affect the reputation of the company.

How Soon Should You Write Email to Notify Your Boss of an Error?

Reporting an error early helps to limit the damage it can do. One of the main reasons why people shy away from reporting their error is the fear of the repercussion. This is completely understandable; however, when the mistake is discovered by your superiors, the repercussion would be greater. Therefore early reporting of workplace errors is a better option than covering up. Additionally, using email to notify your boss of the error will make the task easier for you.

The error made may range from furnishing sensitive information to the wrong person to mixing up customer’s orders. No matter the gravity of the error, the interest of the organization or company should be paramount in addressing every issue related to the matter.

Sometimes, there is a tendency to want to delay reporting a blunder you have made to your boss. Even after you have decided to report it, when to go about it may just be one major hurdle. When an error is beyond our ability to immediately handle and we seek a way to manage the situation without letting it out, this may lead to serious problems affecting not just our job but the organization or company as a whole. In a situation like this, notifying your boss via email may be your best bet.


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The Need for a Quick Fix

When faced with a situation where you are fully aware of your error, you need to determine the magnitude of that mistake. How big the blunder is can be determined if you are able to answer questions like

  • “Does my action pose any physical danger to anyone?”,
  • “How does it affect the organization and to what extent?”,
  • “What are the likely consequences of my action?”

Answers to these questions may motivate you to communicate quickly to your boss and find a way to resolve the problem early.

Using the email is a very effective and quick way to notify your boss of your error. It is vital to understand how to pass the message of your blunder to your boss without making him or her angry or even painting yourself careless.

Writing an Email to Notify Your boss of an Error via Email

Address it to the Right Person

Ensure your email is addressed to your immediate superior or supervisor. There is no need to escalate it to the manager or director. Your immediate boss is the right person to inform about your error. He or she may choose to escalate it; however, since doing this may affect him or her, there is a high probability that it will not be escalated.

You do not need to copy any of your colleagues, except that person is part of the mistake that has been made. If the person is part of the situation, he or she should know what you have done so far about it. The person should also go ahead to write to his or her own superior, whether you have the same immediate boss or not. These are all important for the sake of record keeping or possible legal issues that may arise.

Use the Right Subject Lines

Let the recipient know the content and urgency of your email through your subject line. It should be straight to the point and clear. For instance, “Error Alert: I Issued the Wrong Check” or “Error Alert: I Accidentally Shredded the License”. You will notice the direct way the subject lines communicate to your boss, it should be that way to produce the needed urgency. Also, notice the brevity. This is to ensure that is clear when viewed on any device when it comes in as an alert.

Open with a Greeting

As urgent as the email is, it should be started with a proper salutation, but nothing elaborate. Simply, “Dear Sir” or “Dear Ma” suffices.

Be Precise and Concise

When you write an email to notify your boss of an error, state the issue without too much explanation. However, your introduction is very important. As will be explained below, you need to start by assuring your boss of your loyalty to him or her and the company.

Put the Company’s Interest First

When you are writing an email to notify your boss of an error, it is important to note that the major point you should seek to pass across is the fact that you care about the organization. This validates and makes weightier the apology tendered for the error committed. Putting the interest of the organization first is portrayed when you show that you are open and honest about your mistake. Hiding information that is related to the mistake made may hinder the effort to resolve it. An employee cannot have the company’s interest as paramount and hide information that is crucial for reasons which may be selfish.

Tender an Apology and Take Responsibility

Apologize, and acknowledge your error and give your boss a practical plan on what you intend to do to resolve the problem. This is the best way to take responsibility for what has gone wrong and show your boss you intend to learn from your mistakes.

Never Pass Blame!

Avoid passing blame for the error made. You should take full responsibility for what has gone wrong. This shows maturity and increases your chance of winning back your boss’s trust.

The Need to Rebuild Trust

While your boss is aware of the fact that anyone is liable to make mistakes, trust may have to be rebuilt in some cases. You do not need to let this aspect weigh you down. All you need do is to maintain your focus at work and ensure you avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Email Sample: How to Notify Your Boss of an Error You Made via Email

Subject: Error Alert: I Issued the Wrong Check

Dear Sir,

I will like to bring to your notice that I mistakenly issued the wrong check to Mr. Mavis Green. I added an extra zero to $1000, thereby issuing him $10,000 check. I do not have any excuse for this mistake, though I had been battling a headache since this morning. I tender my unreserved apologies for this error.

I understand how this could be a serious issue, especially because I have been unable to reach Mr. Green on all his telephone lines. I will do my very best to ensure I recover the overpaid $9000. I am already on my way to his residence. Joey has agreed to stand in for me while I am away. I have also sent an email to the company’s attorney informing her of the situation.  

Thank you for your understanding.

Bright Winthrop 


Edited by Kelechi Duru

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