In my January 14th, 2013 blog post “The Business Apology: When Taking Responsibility Trumps Contrition” I wrote the following;
“In truth to be effective, apologies have to help to diffuse the situation rather than make it worse. The only way that this can be achieved is through a sincere expression of regret combined with a clearly defined plan of action to remedy the situation. In other words, and from a public relations standpoint, you achieve a better long term result by taking personal responsibility and being accountable early on in the process as opposed to later when it looks like it was forced or worse . . . contrived.”
Within the context of the above advice I must admit I was somewhat surprised when the LinkedIn update that rolled across my screen earlier today suggesting that offering an apology even if one is not in the wrong, for the sake of a relationship, is somehow “Inspiring.”
I thought for a brief moment, am I missing something here?
To me, taking ownership of one’s actions and offering a sincere apology backed by an effort to make things right is a sign of maturity and strength.
A sincere apology when truly warranted is a reflection of not only your personal values, but a recognition of your integrity in terms of staying true to who you are and what you believe.
It is also a sign of respect for the other party and your relationship with them.
Once again, if I am off-base here let me know.
However, I could not help but wonder how many of us have ever offered an apology or backed down from a situation to preserve a relationship or for fear of offending or losing our job?
An even more profound question is what was the ultimate cost of such a surrender of one’s true feelings and beliefs?
So here is my question to you . . . have you ever apologized knowing that you were not in the wrong, or backed down from taking a position that you sincerely believed in your heart was the right position?
If you have, do you still believe that you made the right decision? If you had it to do all over again, would you choose another course of action today?