This morning I read a really nice inspiring article from Kate Nasser via Twitter. You can read it here: “Teamwork: Making Apologies Worthy of Acceptance”.
The article outlines the kinds of behaviours you see in good teams, in particular with regard to respect, appreciation, ownership and caring. I really liked the ideas behind the post and wanted to add here a simple formula for well-delivered apologies. You can include the pointers from Kate’s post and if you use this formula for delivery, you are bound to be authentic.
Good apologies are like good constructive feedback – the process is the same.
So, lets start by seeing how to give good feedback. It’s easy to do in 4 steps:
- Outline the behaviour/performance you are talking about. For example: “Your time management is not very good.”
- Give an example that explains (1). For example: You have been late by more than 30 minutes 3 times this week.”
- Outline the consequences of (1). For example: “As a result, your colleagues have been under pressure at the check-out during peak hours.”
- Think about the future and required performance/behaviour. For example, make a suggestion, discuss together or simply delegate the task future improvement.
(..as a side-note, the above process is the same for feedback about positive performance).
When you apologise, it is important to be precise about what you are apologising for and show that you understand the consequence of your actions.
That’s why the feedback process is so useful. Let’s see an example…
- Outline the behaviour/performance you are talking about. For example: “I realise that I was rude to you earlier…”
- Give an example that explains (1). For example: “…when I said you were stupid and childish.”
- Outline your understanding of the consequences of (1). For example: “I can imagine that you felt hurt or upset due to my unkindess.”
- Say something about the future. For example: “I am going to make an effort to be more respectful in the way I talk to people.”
…and then say the magic word: “Sorry”
If you do all this (including Kate’s pointers) you’ll be on the track to giving real authentic and valuable apologies.
Thanks for reading.
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