The 3 secrets of a sincere apology

Leaders who apologize for their mistakes are perceived as stronger and more inspiring than those who do not acknowledge their mistakes.

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The 3 secrets of a sincere apology
The 3 secrets of a sincere apology

You haven’t achieved a goal, lost a customer, or You failed In a way, this has hurt your credibility, your business, and your team. There is no way these things happen. The question is: what now?

If you’re like a lot of executives, chances are you’ll try to hide the problem first or to ignore it. A global study by The Forum Corporation found that only 19 percent of the leaders Excuse me regularly because they fear that doing without will make them appear incompetent or weak. And of course there is some truth in that. Apologizing shows that you are fallible and, to some people, looking fallible means looking weak.

Fortunately, that’s silly. A study published in the journal Journal of Business Ethics found that leaders who apologize for their mistakes are perceived as stronger and more inspiring than those who do not acknowledge their mistakes.

Yes, an apology forces you to admit that you are far from perfect and that you have had a moment of weakness. But you can also show people that you are ready to take responsibility for your actions and use your failure as an opportunity for growth. This is the best way to create a culture of credibility and responsibility. If you as the boss are ready to transparently acknowledge your mistakes, so will your employees.

Take Reed Hastings, for example. In 2011, the Netflix co-founder tried to force his company into the burgeoning online streaming market. To that end, the original DVD-by-mail service has been renamed Qwikster and prices have been increased by 60% for current Netflix mail and online customers. Awesome Error. Hastings faced tremendous backlash from customers and shareholders, and the company’s share price fell.

What has he done? He said “La% $ gué” and admitted that Netflix’s previous successes had made him arrogant and blinded him to possible problems with his plan. His apology helped restore the company’s good name. By late 2012, Netflix had surpassed subscriber growth estimates and its stocks had rebounded.

It takes a lot of work to recover from a huge mistake, but if you’re looking to get off on the right foot, a real excuse is deeply powerful. You just have to get it right. That’s how it goes:

1. Restore the feeling of security

Usually when you disappoint your team there is a time when people freak out for lack of better wording. They try to fix the immediate problems but wonder if this mistake will affect their careers. According to Dr. Robert Hurley, author of The Decision to Trust, often finds it difficult for people who feel unsteady to trust others. So be ready to allow extra hours and do whatever you can to alleviate this uncertainty. This can mean scheduling more one-on-one appointments or meals, performing performance reviews with team members early on, and sending more frequent update emails showing progress in the weeks following the incident. Show that you are in control. Once people feel more secure, they are more likely to trust you again.

2. Ask why

An important irony is that if you make a mistake, you need to “re-inspire” – ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and why it is important, and then reaffirm that sense of mission with your staff. Simon Sinek, speaker, consultant and author of Start with Why, argues that the more prominent your “why” is, the greater the acceptance by your employees and stakeholders. It reminds them why they are doing this job and helps them move on.

3. Get moving

Once you apologize, it’s time to move on. The faster you can solve the problem, the faster people will move with you. Your initial apology will earn you a lot of points. But after that, customers, investors, or employees don’t care if you’re sorry. Just fix the mess and move on.

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