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Apologies are important in the workplace.

An apology is a sign of respect and empathy. Do you underestimate the power of an apology in the workplace? Apology can be defined as “a regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure” according to the dictionary, but not everyone deems an apology worthy especially in the workplace. Apologizing at the office can be difficult at times and might feel awkward because you are faced with personal emotions but still find yourself in a professional environment. Forgiveness is usually the result of an apology, vital to working well within the team.

Why are apologies necessary in the workplace? Simply put, a sincere apology shows that you are sorry and that you feel regret. More so, it shows that you have compassion for the other person’s feelings who was affected by your decisions or actions.

At one stage or the other, you will find yourself in a situation where you are expected to apologize at work. Let’s face it, we all make mistakes and are only human. To apologize is the right thing to do if you were in the wrong but as Benjamin Franklin said “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”

Make sure you apologize in the right way, even though it might be somewhat embarrassing especially as a professional, it still remains a useful workplace skill that can build relationships and your reputation. From the other side of the table you will be seen as mature enough to admit your mistake and you will be applauded for taking responsibility for your actions.

Remember that an apology should:

  • always be prompt, but brief and sincere
  • never be a blame shifting game or deflecting taking the responsibility
  • as far as possible be made in person and made with eye contact

Explaining how you will rectify the situation or what you will do to fix it, shows that you are set on setting things right. Although apologizing in the workplace is sometimes necessary and shows your admission of guilt, don’t constantly apologize for EVERYTHING if it is not your fault. Don’t over use the words “I’m sorry” just because you are afraid someone might not like you. This in turn shows insecurities, self-doubt and a lack of confidence.