Don’t Make These Apology Mistakes
None of us are perfect, and knowing how to apologize authentically is a critical piece of developing healthy professional relationships. A good apology allows people to move forward from mistakes or difficulties. I bet you’ve seen many occasions when people hang on to old issues and it negatively impacts future performance.
That’s because, too often, apologies aren’t effective. They lack substance, are overdone, and end up causing more harm than good. One of the reasons a good apology is so rare is that it requires the person who is apologizing to let go of explaining themselves. There is ample reason to share your perspective, but it’s about timing.
Business leaders frequently fill their apologies with explanations and reasons behind their actions. What’s missing is the actual apology. And without an apology, the people who need to won’t be able to move forward. This can wreak havoc on workplace culture and productivity.
So how can you effectively apologize when you’ve messed up? Dr. Harriet Lerner wrote a book called “Why Won’t You Apologize?
” in which she discusses nine essential ingredients of a true apology. Here are a few to consider:
- Don’t include the word “but”
- Don’t overdo it
- Don’t get caught up in who is more to blame or who started it
- Don’t ask the hurt party to do anything, not even to forgive
Leaders need to harness the power of apologies as a tool to open the communication channels with their team, build trust and cultivate stronger relationships.