by Rick Forbus, Ph.D.
Should we all consider an apology a strong leadership skill? Could it be that with careful thought, coupled with a nicely spoken apology, that some of our generational and other cultural differences would be lessened? Possibly. However, from experience an apology to me has never eroded my respect for the one who gave it, but rather, increased their strength in my eyes. On the other side of the equation, I have noticed that when my apology was delivered privately and sincerely with the proper amount of emotion my colleagues have said they felt closer and more connected to my leadership going forward.
“Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.”
Some recommended coaching steps might be:
- Think about a scenario where you didn’t apologize and you could have, making the situation better.
- Replay the scenario again imagining the words you would say that would improve the relational tension.
- Try to come to terms with this blended paradigm of protocol and guilt mentioned above. How does it seem best blended for you? What matches your personality style best?
- Write some preemptive thoughts to prompt your next attempt at an apology. How would you play it out?
“When you realize you’ve made a mistake, make amends immediately. It’s easier to eat crow while it’s still warm.”
Strong leadership combines a myriad of actions and styles. The bottom line is that human relations are key factors in leadership success. An apology, though rare these days, may be the secret ingredient to your career ascendancy.
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