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.
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, 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 maintain your focus at work and ensure you avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Email Example to Your Boss About a Mistake
Subject: Clarification Regarding Recent Task Dear [Boss's Name], I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to bring to your attention a mistake I made in the recent report we discussed. In Section 3, I inadvertently used outdated data which affected the analysis. I deeply apologize for any confusion this may have caused. I have already identified the correct data and can rectify the error swiftly. Please let me know the best way to proceed to ensure the report's accuracy. Thank you for your understanding and guidance. Best regards, [Your Name]
Email Sample to Report an Error to My Boss
Subject: Error in the [project/task name] report Dear [Boss's name], I am writing to report an error in the [project/task name] report that I submitted yesterday. I noticed that the total sales for the month of July were incorrect. The correct total is $100,000, but the report shows $10,000. I apologize for this error. I am not sure how it happened, but I am working on finding the mistake and correcting it. I will send you an updated report as soon as possible. In the meantime, I have taken steps to prevent this from happening again. I have reviewed the report carefully and I have made sure that all of the numbers are correct. I have also created a checklist to help me avoid making this mistake in the future. I take this error very seriously and I am committed to providing accurate and reliable reports. I appreciate your understanding and I will keep you updated on my progress. Sincerely, [Your name]
Email Example to Apologize for A Mistake Professionally
Subject: Apology for Oversight in [Project/Task] Dear [Recipient's Name], I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to personally address an oversight that occurred during [project/task name]. I take full responsibility for the mistake and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or confusion it may have caused. Upon reviewing the situation, I understand that [briefly describe the mistake and its impact]. I deeply regret this error and want to assure you that I am taking immediate steps to rectify it. Moving forward, I am implementing measures to prevent similar oversights and am committed to ensuring that this incident does not reflect our usual standards of work. I value our working relationship and the trust you've placed in me. If there's anything specific you'd like to discuss or if you have suggestions for how I can make things right, please let me know. Once again, I apologize for any disruption this may have caused, and I appreciate your understanding. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this matter. Sincerely, [Your Name] [Your Contact Information]
Email Sample to Notify Someone of An Error
Subject: Error in [document/task/project name] Dear [Recipient's name], I am writing to notify you of an error in the [document/task/project name] that I sent you yesterday. I noticed that the [specific error] is incorrect. The correct information is [correct information]. I apologize for this error. I am not sure how it happened, but I am working on finding the mistake and correcting it. I will send you an updated version of the [document/task/project name] as soon as possible. In the meantime, I have taken steps to prevent this from happening again. I have reviewed the [document/task/project name] carefully and I have made sure that all of the information is correct. I have also created a checklist to help me avoid making this mistake in the future. I take this error very seriously and I am committed to providing accurate and reliable information. I appreciate your understanding and I will keep you updated on my progress. Sincerely, [Your name]
Timesheet Correction Email Example
Subject: Timesheet Correction Required Hi [Supervisor's Name], I noticed a small error in my timesheet for [specific project/task] this week. I accidentally input [incorrect hours/details]. My actual hours should be [corrected hours/details]. I apologize for any confusion. Please let me know if this adjustment aligns with your records. If there are any further steps needed, kindly advise. Thank you for your understanding. Best regards, [Your Name]
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