What to do when you screw up…

by Joy Faulkner October 13, 2015 A

From the moment we open our doors on a Thursday evening at Urban Hope a million decisions have to be made in split second moments, and no matter how experienced and focused you are inevitably you will make the wrong call.

So what do you do when you screw something up?

Over the years at Urban Hope many things have gone wrong, young people stealing bikes, weapons being brought in, young people using drugs on our drive.  Sometimes it’s stuff that’s part and parcel of working with young people, but sometimes, it’s your fault. So here are my tips for what to do when you screw up.

Admit it was you...

You’ll be tempted to blame the young people, the circumstances, the volunteers, but ultimately it’s down to you to put your hands up and say- I’m sorry, I got that wrong.  Taking responsibility enables you to move forward.

Reflect, Reflect, Reflect...

Go back over the event; look at what could have been done differently. Ask volunteers, ask young people if appropriate and ask someone who knows about youth work but wasn’t there. It’s a bit painful to keep raking over a failure but it’s important to work out how you’re going to stop it happening again.

Write it down...

Write a report, change the policy, put a note next calendar for the next session. Do what it takes to make sure that recorded somewhere is whatever action you’ve decided to take. There’s nothing worse then making the same mistake twice because you forgot to do the thing you said you would to stop it.

Don’t beat yourself up...

It helps no one if you let your mistakes paralyse you, so you have to let your mistakes go and move on. Youth work is hard. It’s ok not to be perfect all of the time. You can move on from most mistakes and the young people are probably going to be ok.  Take heart.

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