Offering an apology is simple, right? Wrong!
For even the best Leaders, it’s almost a no-win situation, especially in today’s environment, where no apology of any kind is acceptable or accepted. The primary reason is that too often, the apology is issued without ever saying the words I’m sorry.
I believe that most Leaders think they know how to issue a proper apology. However, daily, we’re seeing that’s not the case. In fact, we’re seeing Leaders offer apologies for their apologies, and making things much worse than if they’d just left things as they were.
Apologies don’t come with an excuse clause or I’m sorry, but……! They also don’t come with finger pointing or making excuses. Shifting blame or trying to justify behavior diminishes a Leader’s influence and credibility.
The most egregious error by Leaders feeling they must apologize is not thinking things through before committing the offense in the first place.
The second most egregious error is rushing to make the apology before carefully considering their words. The result is just adding insult to injury!
The third (and in my view) most egregious, is apologizing for the sake of fitting in, thereby giving in to the pressure of the moment. When I see someone I’ve admired for some time, apologize for something I know they fervently and sincerely believe in (we’re seeing daily now), it drives me to drink! (Oh, that’s Dr. Pepper, by the way. I’m trying to cut back. 😊)
People are smart (contrary to some Leader’s opinions) and they can smell a fake apology a mile away. If they can’t feel the sincerity in the tone of the apology, then the message doesn’t matter, and it would be better not to give one at all.
Moreover, leaders should recognize when an apology needs to be delivered face to face.
Many rely on technology to do the heavy lifting, which is too often the case today. If face-to-face interactions aren’t possible, pick up the phone or have a video conference. Let the offended person hear your voice and acknowledge your sincerity. Don’t hide behind Social Media.
The fundamental leadership principle of praise in public and criticize in private has fallen by the wayside.
It’s almost a no-win situation, especially in today’s environment, where no apology of any kind is acceptable or accepted. How ironic is it that the primary reason is the apology is issued without ever saying the words I’m sorry!
For Leaders, apologies are tough. They require a great deal of humility, challenging your pride and ego because they’re an admission of failure and wrongdoing.
Elite Leaders (those that stand out from the rest) are able to say I’m not afraid to make a mistake, nor am I afraid to admit it.
Personally, I’d like to see more of that!