Why is saying “I am sorry” when you have Completely goofed up so hard? According to a recent article published online at Psychologist World, “It takes humility to make a sincere apology, and for some people, humility is just too uncomfortably close to humiliation.” Setting egos aside to admit mistakes requires, not only courage but an ability to see the bigger picture. As a leader, admitting errors and transgressions can have far-reaching benefits for both you and your team. Consider this:
· Apologies reestablish trust and provide a clean slate for needed behavior or mindset changes. Clearing the air gets everyone looking forward instead of in the rear-view mirror.
· Apologizing validates the feelings of those harmed or hurt. Apologies make people feel valued. And valued employees enjoy higher productivity, job satisfaction, and engagement.
· A mea culpa puts individual accountability front and center as a team core value. As leaders, it’s important our actions jibe with our beliefs. Employees have greater trust for leadership that holds itself accountable to the high standards it has for others.
· When employees feel that it’s okay to make mistakes and own up to them, they tend to be more willing to take risks to be creative and innovative.
· Apologies remind others that leaders aren’t superhuman. There are Real people at the top of the organization. A sincere apology helps everyone involved feel more emotionally connected as people who all put their pants on one leg at a time.
· It’s liberating. It can be tough to walk around with the guilt and embarrassment that comes with having committed a blunder. Often, with an apology comes a feeling that a weight has been lifted – and you survived.
Make your apology heartfelt and acknowledge the hurt feelings all around. Commit to needed change and ask for feedback. If there remains a gap between opinions or perceptions, agree to disagree. And in the event you don’t believe you were wrong -- apologize anyway! Seeing things from the other side can justify an apology to clear things up and help everyone move on as in “I’m very sorry you saw it that way.”
And as important as it is to apologize, remember that it is equally important to forgive to instill good feelings into your work relationships!