Apologising At Work – 5 Examples of Sincere Apologies
BY KAMARA TOFFOLO
Apologies are hard and sometimes we could all use a little help. In this article from The Muse Kamara Toffolo provides examples of sincere apologies at work. To ensure a good work climate we need to strengthen and repair relationships. If a conflict has gotten too entrenched for a simple apology, seek help from a trained mediator to help restore it.
While you might want to fade into the nearest bush Homer Simpson–style when you’ve messed up at work, it’s not really feasible—or mature—to take a duck-and-cover approach. You need to apologize. If not, you can make the situation worse or damage your professional relationships or reputation, among other consequences. So, you need to be equipped with the right words to tactfully address less-than-comfortable situations. (Hint: The first right words are usually “I’m sorry.”)
In order for an apology to be effective, it needs to be done right. Here are four steps to follow:
1. Say the words “I’m sorry.” Don’t dance around it. You don’t want your apology recipient to come away not knowing they were apologized to.
2. Be specific about what you’re apologizing for. Acknowledge what happened, what you did, and what damage you may have done. Make it clear that you understand why your actions were wrong.
3. Avoid justifications and obfuscations. The words “if” and “but” don’t belong in your apology, nor does pushing the blame off on someone or something else. So no, “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings during the meeting,” or, “I’m sorry we made an error but you knew we were short-staffed”—and definitely no, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
4. Show that you’ll avoid a repeat offense. Talk about what you’ll do differently next time and what actions you’re taking or going to take to help with the present situation (if applicable).