We’re all human and we all WILL make mistakes. It’s a part of life. No one is perfect (although I constantly strive for perfection). We all have those times when we let others down. We may fail to follow through on a promise. We may say something we later regret. In business, we may be late on a delivery, err on a decision, or fail on our quality. The point is humans make mistakes, which brings us to this week’s two simple and powerful words: “I’m Sorry.”
I know! It’s tough for some of us to admit fault and to take ownership of our mistakes. But, that is exactly what needs to happen. When you screw up: Accept it, Fix it, and Apologize. People need to hear "I'm Sorry." When they are feeling let down, depleted, wronged (and we are the cause of these feelings), then we need to say these two simple, yet very powerful words. Being able to admit fault and apologize for that fault can help a leader gain respect from his/her followers.
It’s really about accountability, isn’t it? As managers/leaders, we are always taught to hold others accountable. But, don’t we first need to start by holding ourselves accountable? We won’t gain the respect of our peers/subordinates/employees/bosses, until we are accountable for our actions (whether they are successes or failures/mistakes)!
Erika Andersen over at The Simplest Thing That Works has a great post on “Just Say Sorry.”
Here is an excerpt from her post:
"My opinion? Refusing to acknowledge that you're wrong is a sign of weakness. And lame apologies are worse than no apologies at all. Seth Godin has a great list in a recent blog post, of apologies from worst to best. "
"The two kinds of fake apologies I dislike the most are the I-couldn't-help-it-so-it's-not-really-my-fault apology and the it's-really-your-problem apology. "
Erika really nails it on the head doesn’t she? We can’t just say we’re sorry. We have to really mean it. The apology must be authentic!
Did you read Erika’s post? She has a great story on the nicest apology she has ever received? What about all of you? Tell me your stories (both good and bad). Let’s discuss and really show the power of these two simple words!