Real Life. Real Strategies. Real Quick.
Smart Solutions for Working Women.
December 23, 2010
Issue #23

A Surefire Way to Get More Respect in 2011

Apologize. That's right, you heard correctly, Say you're sorry when you've done something wrong.

Let's face it, when we're busy and overloaded we occasionally mess us. We forget to return phone calls, accidentally miss meetings, speak insensitively to others, etc. Whether you've committed a minor infraction or made a huge mistake, the best way to resolve the situation and preserve the relationship is to apologize. It's not always easy to do, but when you show someone that you respect them enough to own up to your mistakes, you will receive their respect in return.

  1. Don't wait to apologize.
    There's nothing worse than listening to someone make excuses about something which is clearly their fault. Immediately after the offense say, "I'm really sorry I inconvenienced you" or "I apologize for dropping the ball on that project." The more you delay apologizing, the less weight your apology will carry.

  2. Mind your tone.
    An apology is meaningless unless you sound genuinely apologetic. We all know the difference between a forced apology and a sincere one. Simply say, "I'm really sorry I forgot to acknowledge your contributions when I gave the presentation. I feel terrible since you were such an integral part of this project."

  3. Listen well.
    The offended party may be angry and need to share how he feels. Listen attentively without making any defensive comments. Don't correct any misinformation; you can clarify those details later in the conversation. Immediately after apologizing, your job is to listen to what is being said.

  4. Explain what happened and what steps you'll take to prevent the mistake in the future.
    Calmly say, "While juggling so many projects for the group, I completely lost sight of the deadline. I'll put all future deadlines in my calendar so this doesn't happen again." It is also a good idea to specifically ask if there is anything you can do to rectify the situation.

  5. Move on.
    Once you've provided a genuine apology and have a plan for preventing the problem from happening again, it's time to move forward. Continuing to apologize every time you see the person will make the offended party uncomfortable and undermine the strength of your initial apology. In general, people are very forgiving, so once you've apologized, forgive yourself and move forward.

Faun Zarge helps people find solutions for their work-life challenges.
She offers her practical, realistic strategies through a wide variety of highly interactive and engaging seminars.  Please feel free to contact Faun directly to discuss how she might help your organization.


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