When I read the “The Heart of Business Strategy: 56* Things That Matter” by Tom Peters, one of the strategies which caught my attention is “Apologize. Even if “they” are “mostly” to blame.”
Apologizing is one of the hardest things for us to do because it means the swallowing of our pride. It means that we have to take the risk of being accepted indifferently, coldly and in an absolute hostile way. Sometimes, we worry of what others may think of us when we apologize.
One night, I received a call from a peer, his voice was somewhat upset, asking why his name was deleted from the salary payroll. Early next morning, I called the supervisor concerned who was surprised why the matter was brought to my attention, as an agreement to address the concern has already been made the other day between her and my peer’s wife. I expected an apology from my peer but nothing came. So, I just understood his side and forgot about the incident.
Tom Peters says: “I regard apologizing as the most magical, healing, restorative gesture human beings can make. It is the centerpiece of my work with executives who want to get better.”—Marshall Goldsmith. Strong language from the master of executive communications. Apologize if you are 10% to blame. Apologize especially if it hurts, if the person you’re apologizing to is an “enemy.” Measure it: set time aside weekly for “three-minute calls,” mostly to apologize: I contend that for every ruptured relationship there was a time when a “mere” three-minute call would have gone a long way toward turning things around.”
In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests these words to apologize sincerely:
“I was wrong.”
“That was unkind of me.”
“I showed you no respect.”
“I gave no dignity, and I’m deeply sorry.”
“I embarrassed you in front of your friends and I had no call to do that. Even though I wanted to make a point, I never should have done it. I apologize.”
In reality, apologizing quickly is not an easy task. It needs a lot of timing, humility, courage and internal security.
Who else dares to apologize?