Apologising is generally inadvisable, for a couple of reasons.
First, it’s a lot of work. You have to take the time to articulate the apology, and the offended party has to respond in some way.This is business; we’ve all got things to do. If you’ve caused offence, change your behaviour. Relationships in business – contractual, interpersonal, whatever – almost always come with second chances built in.
Second, if you find yourself having to apologise a lot, you’ve got bigger problems to deal with than the intricacies of a proper apology.
So, apologise only if it’s warranted – when the offence might cause long-term harm to your reputation. This is an offence that can’t be overlooked or ignored.
It’s not just that you were late for the meeting; it’s that you were late and you asked your partner to lie about your whereabouts. And then you never thanked him. And then you made fun of his socks in front of everyone.
The point is, there are offences that must be acknowledged if you are going to survive in your position – not your professional position but your moral or ethical one.
So when it’s warranted, you have to apologise in a complete and unadulterated way. No hedging. No weasel words. No vague assurances that it won’t happen again. A proper apology is an efficient, rich, bold thing. There’s no other kind, really.
Here’s what an apology requires, as set forth by Aaron Lazare, former dean and professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and author of the book On Apology:
- An acknowledgment of the offence.
- An explanation of your actions.
- An expression of remorse.
- Some sort of reparation.
Thus, it follows:
- “I was late for the meeting. I asked you to lie. I made fun of your socks.”
- “I thought that your lying for me was a small price to pay for my inability to manage the simple task of being at a meeting on time. As for your socks: Hula girls just aren’t my taste.”
- “I regret compromising your ethics. I regret demeaning your choice of hosiery.”
- “I am going to tell everyone why I was actually late. And I am buying you some new socks.”
You’re acknowledging not just a professional failing but a moral one. That’s the only point of an apology: To correct a moral wrong.
When you apologise, you’re affirming that both parties have shared values and agree that the harm committed was wrong. And the gravity of a moral wrong demands that an apology be unequivocal.
Remember, if you admit responsibility but don’t say you regret anything, then you’re justifying your actions. You’re saying, ‘Yes, I did this, but here’s why.’ That’s an excuse, not an apology. A good apology needs to be clear in saying you were responsible for what happened and also clear in saying you regret what happened.
But anyone can apologise if an apology is thought of as merely a technical thing. Satisfying the four steps of an effective apology is meaningless if it doesn’t seem like you mean it. As important as the apology itself is sincerity, which requires emotion, something that’s not always a virtue when it comes to interpersonal communication in business. But with the apology it’s essential.
[box style=”gray,info” ]How to Deal with Offensive People[/box]
Here’s how to apologise in a sincere way:
- Be sincere;
If you’re finding sincerity difficult, we’d like to offer some tips.
Dig deep. Deeper. A liiittle deeper. Good. Now, eye contact. No smiling. Chin down. Lower. Imagine you’re a dog who’s eaten part of – not all of – a roast off the counter.
However, you don’t want to look too sorry. You’re not a supplicant here. And you’re not beneath the other party. After all, what you’re doing is a dignified thing. What you’re doing is a powerful thing.
You’re ending a grudge and regenerating good will. If done the right way, an apology can take a broken relationship and not only fix it but make it stronger than it was before. It’s a powerful investment. It doesn’t cost a thing. And if you follow through on its promise, it lasts forever.
Quiz: Should you apologise?
1. Since the event in question, how many times have you awakened in the middle of the night tossing and turning?
A. 1 (2)
B. 2 (4)
C. 3 (6)
D. 4 or more times (8)
E. Shh. I’m trying to sleep here. (0)
2. That regret you feel …
A. Pang (1)
B. Twitch (3)
C. Stitch (5)
D. Paroxysm (20)
3.Would your mother be proud of you right now?
A. Yes (0)
B. No (5)
4. Say “I’m sorry” out loud. Feel better?
A. Yes (8)
B. No (0)
5. It’s okay. Let it out. There, there. We all make mistakes.
A. I’ve just [sob] been carrying this burden around [sob] for so long [sob]. (30)
B. Are we done here? I’ve got work to do. (0)
- Fewer than 10 points: You don’t need to apologise.
- More than 10 points: Apologise.
- More than 15 points: Apologise. Follow up with a fruit basket.
Key Technical Matters
- Reading your apology from a set of prepared notes does not connote sincerity.
- Having a representative read your apology from a set of prepared notes really does not connote sincerity.
- Eye contact.
- No muttering.
- An apology has three main parts: Acknowledgement; explanation; expression of remorse. If you’re not covering all three, it’s not an apology.
- An apology should not include the words ‘if’ or ‘but’. Those are qualifying words that render an apology meaningless.
- Since your moral standing diminishes exponentially with each passing day, an apology is most effective if it comes before the offence has even been acknowledged by the offended party.
- But once the offence has been acknowledged by the offended party, the apology should be offered no less than 24 hours later. Anything sooner, and your apology will seem rushed, insincere and hollow.
- “I’m sorry if you got offended” is not an apology.
- “I’m sorry, you pathetic nuisance” is not an apology.
- “I’m sorry-ish” is not an apology.
- “I’m not in any way sorry” is not anywhere close to being an apology.
- ‘Hugging it out’ may be suggested only by the offended party.
- ‘High-fiving it out’ is not really a thing.
- ‘Crying it out’ is a little much.
[box style=”gray,info” ]5 Tips to Keep You in a Positive State of Mind[/box]
21 Inspiring Quotes About Success, Persistence And What It Means To Be An Entrepreneur
Leaders of companies big and small share the mindset it takes to achieve your dreams in the face of all obstacles.
True, being an entrepreneur can be exhausting, lonely, frustrating and terrifying. But it’s worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears when you are pursuing your passion, turning your dream into a reality.
In an ongoing series called Real Entrepreneurs, we pick the brains of founders and leaders about what it is like to have every decision big and small rest on their shoulders and have compiled their thoughts on what it takes to succeed on the long, sometimes crazy journey of an entrepreneur.
The Mindset Strategy From The “Rock Star” Coach Can Turn Your Beliefs Into Results
William Badenhorst, a Director of Global Strengths shares his mindset secret to ongoing entrepreneurial success.
William Badenhorst, a Director of Global Strengths, is a coach to the coaches. His “Rock Star” attitude along with the deep driving desire to help others find their true selves formed the fabric of a highly interesting and entertaining interview.
The rolling thunder of his voice brought forth quote after quote, quip after quip and wisdom after wisdom. As a “peak performance coach” to professional athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs and corporate career orientated individuals, William believes that knowing who you truly are as an individual is the catalyst for lasting growth and useful change in business and in life in general.
His intense eyes and energetic hand gestures emphasized one of his core beliefs and that is that we all are nothing but our very own beliefs.
“Everyone is focused on Results”
Everyone is always focusing on the outcome – the results they want. But what creates results? Let’s do some reverse engineering. In order to achieve RESULTS we need to take ACTION. And in order to take ACTION we need to make a DECISION. To make a DECISION, we need to think about it – THOUGHTS.
The interesting thing about humans is that we do not create our thoughts, we can only control them. So what does create your thoughts? Your BELIEFS creates your THOUGHTS. So ultimately your BELIEFS creates your RESULTS.
“You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.”
It is our very own limiting beliefs, such as for example that “I am not good enough” and “I am not deserving” and “I’m not worthy ” that creates barriers to our own success in entrepreneurial ventures and in our lives. In order to reach our limitless potential we must find and remove the self-created barriers that hold us back.
Although he loves the interaction and benefits of social media he is quick to point out that it also has created a fantasy of who and what we should be. He advises to not to adopt such fantasy as your desired reality but to instead be who you really are as an individual and goes on to quote the famous Greek philosopher Socrates:
“Know thyself, Be thyself and Love thyself”
You always end up falling back on your beliefs -whether they are empowering or disempowering. The challenge with that is that a large number of your beliefs are unconscious especially when you have not put in the work to find out what your belief system truly is.
Through his vast experience as a coach he realized that a large number of people veer away from self-awareness as they are afraid of being judged for whom they truly are.
The conversation naturally evolved into the exploration of the true meaning of the concept of faith and William’s mind grasped at a Quote from the apostle Paul:
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
He went on to explain that faith is evidence of true-self which creates certainty which in turn is equal to confidence. Confidence brings a certain state where everything flows. He calls it “Peak State”. He further advises to search for evidence of who you really are and gain belief in yourself.
Advice to young entrepreneurs
William’s thoughts on self-development for entrepreneurs are to get a Coach. If you are already in business and don’t have a Coach – get one! Begin with taking extreme ownership and responsibility of everything in your life. And when you do that you win.
Stop blaming everything and everyone around you. Stop complaining about circumstances. You are in control and it is up to you to make it happen. There are no un-resourceful people, there are only un-resourceful states. Go where you are celebrated not tolerated and love yourself unconditionally. Remove the very unrealistic expectations of what and who you should be and authentically be yourself. Believe in yourself and go all in on YOU!
Become the best form of yourself because as an entrepreneur you are the business. Play to your strengths and manage your weaknesses. You do not need a title to lead, have massive self-belief and others will follow.
Have an attitude of constant learning:
“If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room”
And then yet another quote rolled off his tongue that put me in a self-reflective mood:
“A person that shines from within does not need a spotlight”
William Badenhorst, the father, the coach, the entrepreneur and key note speaker left the author and the reader with a question of mesmerising depth:
“What if you woke up this morning with only the things that you were grateful for last night?”
Gratitude is everything!
How You Can Move From Your Potential To Your Purpose
“Value isn’t in opinion, it’s in perspective” – Wes Boshoff
Let’s face it, we all know that when wanting to achieve something different, you need to do something different. The challenge isn’t in wanting the different, it’s in doing the different!
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”.
I love that because it highlights the importance of knowing that you have a purpose, and that you need to find it or design it, then live it, love it and look after it.
You have heard it said or said it yourself…”that person has huge potential, if only they would…”. It’s great to have potential but potential doesn’t equate to purpose. They are like elastics, just sitting there on the desk, and it’s not much good to anyone just sitting there. You see there is a gap between potential and purpose and that gap is called ‘The Stretch’.
For that elastic to move from potential to purpose it needs to be stretched, and only once its stretched and put round a bunch of pens does that elastic really move into its purpose. We are a lot like elastics, we need to be stretched to move from potential to purpose. The stretch isn’t always easy because we tend to get twisted out of shape when we need to do something different. However, the stretch is not designed to change who we are, just change how we are.
Here are a few ideas to help you in The Stretch.
Think about what you think about – it’s all in your perspective
Things are achieved or not achieved depending on how we think about them. Do you focus on the obstacles or the opportunities? It’s easy to see the obstacles, the key is to choose which one you going to focus on. Obstacles will always get in the way of opportunities if you let them. So, remain attentive to the possibilities that opportunity brings.
That means you need to position yourself in the way of opportunity, get in its way – make something happen, don’t just sit there! There’s a catch to this one though, opportunity never travels alone, it always comes with responsibility. Do you have the ability to respond to the opportunity? Are you taking responsibility, often we are given it, but we don’t really take it! You need to take and own the responsibility to maximise the opportunity!
Beware of distraction
‘Dis’ – a prefix meaning reversal, or the absence of action and traction refers to grip. When you get distracted you lose grip and that’s dangerous. Imagine driving, suddenly, you’ve lost traction, you are heading in the wrong direction, you may even end up going backwards.
Make sure you stick to what you need to do, create daily productive habits that will help you achieve in the long term. Grow your capacity and increase your footprint. Gain traction by repeating what works for you, that way your practice becomes repeatable and your brand becomes reputable. Don’t stop moving, its easier to change direction while you are still moving, than it is to start moving.
Things don’t always work out
Employ the “What’s Wrong – What’s Next?” philosophy. When things go wrong with people, products or plans, we can get caught up in drama. There’s no time for drama, simply define what went wrong and decide what needs to be done next to fix it. Once fixed, then deal with the doer of the wrong, but deal with them in the right way too…you still don’t need drama!
“Value isn’t in opinion, it’s in perspective” – Wes Boshoff
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