When you’ve done wrong, apologize!

In our everyday business and personal lives, there are countless ways we can make mistakes that hurt our relationships.  We drop the ball on a commitment; violate a confidence; say or do something offensive.  And the list goes on.

As human beings, we are not perfect.  These moments will inevitably occur.  The more important question is: when they do happen, how do you respond?

It’s staggering how reluctant people can be (leaders especially) to take responsibility for these kinds of mistakes and apologize swiftly and sincerely.  Pride, ego, and fear of being viewed as weak often get in the way.  Before you know it, the moment has passed, you’ve avoided the conversation and moved on.  But the other person hasn’t. Ditch the notion that an apology is a sign of weakness. Indeed, it takes strength to own your mistakes, and it helps strengthen your relationships and your character when you take this important step.

There is a right and wrong way to apologize.  Saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way” suggests they are the one with the problem.  The right way is to own it and express sincere regret for the damage done. People are by nature forgiving. When they believe your apology is authentic, you will most likely be forgiven.  On the flip side, an insincere apology will exacerbate the situation. 

Today, ask yourself, “is there anyone in my life who deserves an apology?”