Community Futures Meridian

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Apologies are Important

  • February 2, 2017
  • Written by Meridian Admin

What do you feel about the person who is quick with an excuse, takes no responsibility for their actions and does not apologize easily or with sincerity? This is the case when an apology is meaningless or insincere.

Saying “I am sorry” with sincerity and by acknowledging the mistake without excuses is truly three words that will enhance respect and engender trust from colleagues, friends, family, or employees. It will show a strength of character in admitting a mistake, which we all make from time to time. It is about genuinely accepting the blame.

Marshall Goldsmith, a prominent executive coach, says, “I regard apologizing as the most magical, healing, restorative gesture human beings can make. It is the centerpiece of my work with executives who want to get better.” As in any leadership role, mentoring and modelling behavior is an integral part. How we apologize and how we accept apologies speaks volumes as to our character and how we want to be viewed in the world.

What makes an apology sincere?

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” To be authentic, you need to understand that you did something wrong and state what you did without excuses. In that way, the person(s) to whom you are apologizing knows that you are owning the responsibility for your actions. How you will make things right is another part of the apology, how will you make amends or right the wrong? It is also important that you do not expect anything in return for your apology. Finally, how will you ensure that you will not repeat the mistake in the future?

Accepting an apology.

How often have you heard a teacher or parent tell a child to apologize for something? How sincere does the apology sound? The first rule of thumb when dealing with a failure or mistake is to not ask for an apology. As hard as this may seem, for it to be sincere you need to wait for it to happen. Remember it takes courage for some of us to apologize.

To honestly forgive and thank the person for the apology, also goes a long way to move the relationship forward. Furthermore; once the apology is given and received, it is important that is not held against the person or brought up in future conversations. Moving forward, the hope is that a lesson has been learned and mistakes are not repeated. “Apologies aren't meant to change the past, they are meant to change the future,” wrote Kevin Hancock in his book, Not For Sale.

Apologizing and accepting apologies is an important part of human dynamics and relationships. How you handle both the giving and receiving goes a long way to help you succeed in your business and personal life.

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching