Apologies can be challenging. We often allow things to fester before apologizing and attempting to move on.
A book I recently read shed new light on what it means to apologize. Why Won’t You Apologize? by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., is very challenging.
Why so, you ask? It’s because the book forces you to rethink what makes an apology.
Often, an apology can be self-serving. Where the apologizer is not actually taking responsibility.
For instance, the chapter “Five Ways to Ruin an Apology” gave great information.
I will summarize a couple that jumped out to me.
I’m sorry you feel that way
The first that jumped out to me was the “I’m sorry you feel that way” apology. This one is terrible because a genuine apology focuses on your actions and not the other person.
I try to remember that I need to focus on my side of the street, not the other persons.
The if person
The “if” apology can definitely put a roadblock in place. If you say, “I’m sorry if X hurt you,” then you are not taking full responsibility. When an apology is necessary, you know deep down how you hurt someone.
A healthy apology will own mistakes and leave them there. No motive for forgiveness or instant reconciliation.
Applying this to your business can be revolutionary. When addressing your team or even in client support. Genuine apologies go a long way in creating a positive connection.
A healthy apology should seek to bring healing and offer a door to the other person. The other person will make the decision about the next steps.