An employee asked questions of her boss to resolve a critical distribution issue. He didn’t have the answers. She kept pressing him to get her the answers she needed until he left the meeting upset by her persistence. He ignored her requests to meet with him and refused to apologize for coming unprepared for the meeting. Thirty days later he fired her.
Many people fail to apologize for mistakes, misunderstandings, or the words they choose to use (e.g., profanity, mispronouncing someone’s name, using jargon incorrectly, etc.). Their words and actions can hurt relationships and negatively impact results.
Failure to apologize can create:
- -Avoidance behavior
- -Snarky remarks
- -Loss of customers, jobs, promotions, or pay increases
- -The list is endless!
As a boss, you don’t have the luxury of not apologizing and making things right with employees, co-workers, vendors, customers, or even your boss. It’s your responsibility to set a positive example and create win-win-win outcomes.
Remember, your communication style either energizes or deflates your team. Win-win-win outcomes require learning a very important communication skill…how to genuinely apology.
6 Steps for a Genuine Apology
Always start with honesty, courage, and respect so you can stand up and extend the “olive branch.”
- Become present to what you said or the mistake you made. This may require journaling or talking with your coach to uncover the true problem.
- Offer “I’m sorry.” or “I apologize.” Both offers create the start of a healthy conversation. This must occur to get the problem resolved in a win-win-win manner.
- Listen to their response. If they are angry because you waited too long or you’ve humiliated them, you may not be present to the impact you caused. Listen and learn from their response before again offering an apology.
- Don’t defend. The situation happened. Being right or making them wrong won’t get the issue resolved or move the conversation forward. Listen and talk without defending yourself. (Catch yourself before excusing what happened with a, “Yeah, but.”)
- Ask what you can do to resolve it. What needs to happen to move forward? Ask for their opinion and input. If you don’t, the resentment will continue.
- Forgiveness works magic. Genuine apologies allow for you and them to let go of resentments. Then, true forgiveness is naturally possible.
Remember, all relationships have their upsets. As a boss, learning how to genuinely apologize is an important part of communication.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2019
Managing people is one of the biggest challenges bosses face daily. As an executive coach, Jeannette Seibly has been championing people and results for the past 26 years. Contact Jeannette today for straight talk with dynamic results.
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