Saturday, December 29, 2012

When You Make Mistakes, Apologize Quickly

From the blog:

We all make mistakes. Many people find it difficult to admit error, but failure to make a quick apology at work often has negative consequences.

  1. If you did err, accept responsibility and move on. Most colleagues are forgiving.
  2. Make your apology short and simple. Lingering puts a spotlight on it.
  3. Be genuine. Don’t let your tone or body language ‘undo’ your apology.
  4. It has to be timely. Although “better late than never” applies to most whoppers.
  5. Apologize before you are discovered by others. Your integrity rating will go up. Your guilt will go down.
  6. Don’t add conditions. “I am sorry if berating you in front of the client embarrassed you.” Of course it did. Just say you’re sorry.
  7. Pay up. Insist on paying for dry cleaning or a new shirt if you lost control of your Sharpie and it wrecked your colleague’s new blouse. Slip appropriate cash in an envelope and leave it on her desk with a super-short note. If she returns it, take it back. You tried.
  8. Never, ever say that the error was caused by your assistant, even if it was. Your assistant is under your control (yes, of course, tell your assistant about the error). If he’s so terrible, get a new one. Blaming someone below you is rarely believable by bosses and clients and always makes you look lily-livered.
  9. Reciprocate. Forgive easily.
  10. Develop a pattern of honesty and integrity. Patterns really count.


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