@Tilling 67 via flickr
In the picture above, I have no idea if the person is being sincere or not with their apology. But if you have ever been apologized to before, you know pretty quickly if the person means it.
I, personally, have been on both ends of this: receiving an apology from someone who I could tell didn’t care by a damn sight, and bearing witness to a heartfelt admission of wrongness that was steeped in genuine remorse and consideration of my feelings. Suffice to say I had a better opinion of person two than person one.
A sincere apology – as a friend/mentor of mine and I were discussing tonight – is an ultimate expression of vulnerability, love, and a sacred acknowledgment of another person. You screwed up…maybe a little or perhaps a lot. But to not only put yourself in their shoes but to feel the hurt you caused and then offer yourself over as a means of authentic recompense is bravery beyond bravery. You not only made a mistake, but you’re exposing your ego further
What does this have to do with your career? Strong leaders know how to apologize with heart and sincerity, and we look up to them for doing so. It’s as if their integrity and their souls coalesce in a perfect symphony of humility and authenticity. A real apology can instantly move years of icy contempt from the heart of a slighted colleague, or it can deepen the level of a friendship that was strong to begin with.
Mind your apologies. They are more than saying “I’m sorry:” they are an extension of your character.