Apologizing has become somewhat of a lost art, don't you think? And to a large degree it's understandable because no one likes to admit failure – it's humiliating and when done well, there's no room for pride to stick around. Which is why it's so hard to do! Yet…..you know this as well as I do…apologizing well is one of the most powerful gestures we could ever show another human being.
So here's five quick thoughts on how to do it well.
1. Acknowledge your failure.
"I have failed you. I've let you down. I have done wrong."
2. Acknowledge the impact of the failure.
"I have failed you….and as a result, I know I've caused you a lot of pain….I've put you in a very precarious position…..I have hurt you."
What NOT to say: "I'm sorry you were offended by what I did." NO. That sucks. Take responsibility.
3. Tell them you're sorry.
"I've failed you….and I know it has caused you a lot of pain….and I just want you to know that I am truly sorry."
4. Commit to change.
"….and I'll do whatever I can to make sure that never happens again."
5. Shut the #*($&! up.
This is where we get into trouble. Because the tendency is to add on:
"I'm sorry….it's just that…"
"I'm sorry….but I didn't mean it!"
"I'm sorry…it's just that you…"
No. Don't make excuses. Don't complicate it. Don't qualify it.