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Timeliness is crucial for workplace apologies. Tensions can easily escalate to the point of making work unbearable for one or more parties.
Once you recognize that you owe an apology, do your best to make it as soon as possible, and try to turn the interaction into a constructive conversation.
In some situations, an apology can equate to an admission of guilt. If there are any concerns about the repercussions of an apology, you may want to consult with your legal department before making it.
However, if you messed up and the results are catastrophic, it's important to own the mistake and accept the consequences. If you try and shift the blame, someone else might pay, and others may lose respect for you.
If you are wrongly blamed for a mistake, make your case and speak up for yourself.
You may be tempted to cover for others, and while helping someone else out of a tough spot may seem noble, this could eventually evolve into someone using you as a doormat, or escaping responsibility for repeated mistakes.
Apologies bring us face-to-face with the fact that we have something to apologize for, triggering a sense of guilt and shame.
Saying sorry puts one’s shameful behavior out there. That’s why transgressors often view an apology as threatening to their self-image and consequently hesitate to offer one.
When people focus on their core values, they seem to become more willing to sincerely apologize.
By understanding the many barriers to an apology— the indifference to another’s pain or the fraying of a relationship—we can glimpse what’s holding us back from saying “I’m sorry” in a particular situation.
From there, we have the opportunity to change course and let the healing begin.
A high-quality apology has three elements:
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or minimising the pain we feel; nor is it about excusing others.
Forgiveness means making a conscious and deliberate decision to let go of our feelings of resentment or revenge, regardless of whether the person who has upset us deserves it.
One thing that often helps people to forgive is receiving an apology.
A good apology ideally has three parts: an admission of responsibility, a demonstration of sorrow, and doing something to remedy the offence, or prevent a repetition of it.
An apology is not telling others we feel sorry they are angry it is telling them we understand why they are angry with us, regret making them feel that way, and wanting to take their anger away.
An effective apology is showing the person we understand why they are hurting.