One of the skills many people find most challenging is apologising.
It’s also one of the most important skills in business - if not in life. A good apology leaves everyone satisfied and clears a space to move forward. A weak apology, on the other hand, can leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the recipient - a lingering resentment and belief that you were simply trying to look good, rather than take responsibility for whatever required the apology in the first place.
A powerful apology does four things:
A powerful apology does NOT:
Some years ago I was in a media conference with a leading advertising agency. A reporter asked the GM why the agency had recently lost a big account. The GM began talking about “chemistry” and other meaningless concepts. The MD stepped in and said “we lost the account because we stopped listening.” Boom.
That’s how a powerful apology works. No excuses. No blame. Full responsibility.
Then everyone’s free to move on.