How To Say Sorry And Mean It!

We all make mistakes and to be honest who hasn’t dropped the ball or made a total howler of an error? Anyone who is so perfect that they have never made an error is not telling the truth – making mistakes, but learning from the experience, is a key part of a manager’s development.

As with life, facing up to your mistakes is a key part of personal development. The best way to deal with a mistake, saying sorry and meaning it is to follow the points below:

  • Never hide behind an email or a letter: if it is possible deliver this on a face-to-face basis as the personal touch always gets things sorted much quicker.
  • Make it sincere: an insincere apology will never work and is likely to prolong the agony of the issue. An apology that accepts fault normally closes off the issue very quickly and you can then both move on. The non-apology of “I am sorry you feel that way” achieves little and annoys people further.
  • Speed is everything: never draw the problem out, apologise now before things escalate.
  • Be specific: give a measured and creditable response to the exact issues creating the initial problem or issue.
  • Give a personalised response: using a standard cut-and-paste approach can be sensed a million miles away so make sure that your response is individually tailored to the specific person that you are communication with.
  • Be humble: assure the recipient that this will never happen again!
  • Ask for feedback: you will want to know that your apology has been received and that future dealings will be on a level playing field. Also asking for feedback shows that you are sincere about the issue and that you care.
  • Never wait for a prompt: you will appear sincere and remorseful if you take the initiative ahead of a complaint rather than waiting for this to land on your desk.
  • Do not go over the top: there is no need to apologise if the situation does not call for it!

Good Luck!

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