Two little words can sometimes make all the difference when it comes to a disagreement. Whether this is in business, friendships or relationships, the ability to admit when we have done a wrong and apologize is golden. Those two words “I’m sorry ” can be a great first step towards understanding and healing. However, this must be said with a follow up plan.
Apologizing is a great first step …but did you mean it? I often see companies make mistakes in either their advertising or actions and not present any steps to remedy the situation. If no action is taken to correct or make up for the behavior …are you REALLY sorry?
When you , either as a person or a company, commit to apologizing , you need to have an action plan going forward, Are you going to change how you behave in the future? Launch an initiative to make sure such an action doesn’t happen again? Please make sure you have your plan in gear before you right checks your ass can’t cash. People are smarter than you give them credit for and can smell Lip Service.
Don’t be Bridgestone
In 98′ the Bridgestone Tire company began receiving complaints that its tire tread would separate. This resulted in quite a few horrific accidents (source here). Did they even acknowledge the problem or say they would investigate ? No sir! Instead they denied up until 2000 after a lawsuit was filed and won. Even though apologies may have been thrown around after… do you think people still had faith in the company at that point ?
Even if you don’t believe there is a problem , ALWAYS after to investigate the matter. It’s in your best interest. Then if you find you did wrong, APOLOGIZE. This final step seems to escape people.
Leaders are more Respected when admitting they are wrong once in a while.
I remember when I was working retail at a place that rhymes with… let’s say… Schmest Fry. I had told a Coworker in passing that this dude, let’s call him ‘Chad A”, had asked for my number then I said “no”. The problem is, there were several Chad’s at my store and this coworker though I was talking about Chad B vs Chad A. Either way , she mentioned this situation to a supervisor for reasons I am not sure as to why since there was nothing wrong. The supervisor , lets call her Mrs Harpee, took it upon herself to not even investigate nor ask anyone if they thought it was true but instead came at me like I was immediately guilty.
I walked into work the next day to get a meeting with Mrs. Harpee and my store manager where she accused me immediately of ” spreading lies” and how she “wouldn’t have that in her store”. I then corrected her and told her that I was talking about a different Chad. She refused to believe me and instead kept saying that she didn’t want ” people like me ” in ” her store”. I thought this kind of funny because it was not ” her store” and she was a few rungs down the ladder from our Store Manager.
Instead of trying to fight her , I went to the Store Manager and told him what had happened. There was a reason this guy was the store manager. He LISTENED to my story , repeated it back to me to make sure he understood the situation , then offered to investigate and follow up with me. After circling back to me he then told me that the BS write up I had received would be taken out of my file and nothing further would be done. The only thing that shocked me was when I asked about the situation with Mrs Harpee. I asked ” well is she going to apologize for what she did ? Offer some kind of explanation? ”
to which his response was ” Oh … well she won’t do that”
Excuse me ? What kind of message does that send ?! I don’t understand why some supposed leaders and managers have their head stuck so far up their ass that they think that apology is “beneath” them . If you have wronged someone in the workplace or even want to attempt to mend the relationship, humble yourself and apologize for YOUR part in the argument/ disagreement/whatever the hell you want to call it. It takes TWO to argue.
Mrs Harpee’s display of not apologizing not only made her look like a terrible supervisor, it also made her quite a terrible person. I left that store shortly afterward . good riddance.Had she been humble and apologized the story could have been different
Own your outcomes and apologize
My point is, in business or in life it is important to accept your failings and apologize. It will bode better with your audience