Apologizing At Work



I am the first to admit that I hate being wrong.  I am not sure when it started but my desire to be right all of the time is not my most admirable trait (I’m working on it).  I’m sure I’m not the only person with this problem therefore, I want to provide some tips on what to do when you are wrong.

The ability to acknowledge that you are wrong is the first step to being right again.  When you make a mistake at work; own up to it.  It may be hard to actually say the words but with practice it will get easier.  Saying, “I should not have, I made a mistake, or I was wrong” are powerful words.  They have a lasting effect on you and the person receiving the message.  Owning up to your errors shows maturity, accountability and integrity.

After you have acknowledged your mistake you have to take the next step and apologize for your error.  There will be times when a mistake you make will not only hurt you but a coworker or the business.  In those cases you should empathize with the affected parties and apologize.  When you actually say the words “I’m sorry or I apologize” you take accountability for your actions, period.  No buts or excuses are necessary when you take responsibility for what you did.

Lastly, make it right.  Fix your error in a timely manner and move on.  The best way to back up an apology is by doing it right the next time.

Apologizing at work is not an easy task and it can be a humbling experience.  The sooner you learn this lesson in your work life the better.  You will make mistakes, hopefully not the same ones, but how you recover from those mistakes is a true test of your character.  Use each situation in which you find yourself apologizing as an opportunity to grow.

Zena Thomas is founder of Her Savvy Career, a blog focused on helping women navigate their careers and work life.

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