Article written by Angela Hydes, Marketing and Content Contributor. Follow us at @TALGroup.
In a long career in business, you will inevitably make mistakes. There is no shame in them, in fact, you should embrace and see them as opportunities for growth.
That being said, knowing how to connect and communicate with your co-workers is equally crucial. If you reach a moment when you made an error, and you know an apology is due, follow the steps below from Entrepreneur Magazine:
Step 1: Be open. As awkward as it feels, address the feelings that you have as a result of your error. Are you embarrassed? Angry with yourself? Scared of the consequences of your action? Being open about your feelings will immediately communicate that you know you did something wrong, and as a result, you don’t feel good.
Step 2: Identify what went wrong. Articulate the behavior that led to the mistake, and how it impacted others, without rationalizing why it happened. Make sure you understand what you’re apologizing for; in some cases, you may not know what you did to cause the other person angst. In that scenario, take the time to dig deeper and find out what behavior caused stress so you can be sincere in your response.
Step 3: Make it right. Own the situation and take responsibility for what happened. Start anticipating what you can do to correct the situation. This step isn’t about feeling ashamed of your actions, but taking positive steps to remedy your mistakes. During step three is the right time to actually say you are sorry.
Step 4: Check in. You’ve done everything you can to make amends; now it’s time to check in with the other party. Is he or she feeling better? Is the problem resolved? Keep your expectations in check here. While it’s possible that everything will improve after you deliver a great apology, the reality is that you have no control over the reaction of others. And in some instances, a well-crafted, compassionate apology can actually catch the other person off-guard, so give the other person time to process this new approach they’re seeing from you.
Putting it all together: Let’s say you accidentally forwarded an email containing your marketing director’s salary information to the entire sales department. Your apology to him might go like this: “I feel terrible about sending your salary information to the sales team. I failed to scroll to the bottom of the email and, in doing so, I compromised your privacy. I’m sorry. I’m going to personally see to it that the email is deleted. Is there anything else that would make you feel better about my mistake?”
Remember that at the end of the day, your apology should feel less like this:
And a whole lot more like this:
Source: Entrepreneur Magazine