Apologies are hard. And often times, quite frankly, the ones we get suck. There are blaming apologies. Excuse-laden apologies. Clueless apologies. There are few, all-in, I-get-what-an-ass-I-was apologies.
Apologizing well is a rare gift, and there’s good news: we can learn to do it, and we should. Heartfelt apologies are one of the cornerstones of healthy relationships, and are at the soul of how we deepen connections, intimacy, and leadership.
I recently had dinner with two executives: successful leaders on top of their games. They talked about how one of them did not give timely feedback, and how that complicated a situation. A true apology was given. And here is what it sounded like:
On this night in a restaurant, I witnessed two grown men listening deeply, acknowledging a disconnect, exploring what went wrong, and committing to changes that mattered. One honest enough to say “that did not work for me.” One self-aware, humble, and courageous enough to say, “I am sorry and this is what I am going to do to change.”
Here are some apology guidelines:
Here are things to avoid:
Apologies clear the air, lighten our souls, and bring people together. By apologizing with courage, you are also healing yourself and deepening your level of consciousness, mindfulness, and self-awareness: this is leadership.