The best skills we can take to the workplace have nothing to do with our technical knowledge or how adept we are with a certain piece of equipment. Nope. When it comes down to it, the skills that will give us a platform for advancement and continued success are the ones we learned at home, when we were about three years old. Today I’m going to talk about one of those skills, the art of the apology.
What? You’re going to tell me how to apologize in the workplace, and that’s supposed to help me in my career? Absolutely. Keep reading.
The Apology – One of Your Top Skills for Success
First of all, let’s define an apology. What is it really?
An apology, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is an admittance of guilt and a request for forgiveness.
“Yikes, you want me to admit I was wrong on my job? That’s going to look pretty bad, plus it’s a sign of weakness. If I’m doing a good job, I’m not going to need forgiveness, right?”
Actually, in the workplace, an apology takes on a whole new meaning, and it’s quite powerful. Let’s say someone dropped the ball and your company lost a client as a result. Let’s say that “mysterious someone” was you. What normally occurs? Well, if a meeting is held, everyone generally sits around placing blame on the “other department” or other individuals. Some workplace atmospheres just don’t seem conducive to apologies. In reality, they are. Let’s dig deeper.
If we’re really going to move from just having a “job” to being “all in” and completely committed to the vision of a company (and that’s the goal, right?) then you’re going to have to take ownership of your position. Taking ownership involves taking responsibility, and that inevitably involves owning up to our mistakes, –and apologizing. Taking ownership is actually a very powerful stance in the workplace. It’s a key leadership move. Here’s how to leverage the apology and change the atmosphere:
Scenario: Six team members sitting around a table, discussing the client who decided to cancel the company’s services. Who dropped the ball? Where did contact become weak? These questions are difficult, if not impossible, to answer when every individual is protecting himself (or herself). The meeting is a waste. It either goes nowhere or becomes a finger pointing contest.
Now, insert the apology into this scenario. It looks like this:
Power Play: How to Apologize in the Workplace
“Hey guys, I just want to say that I’m sorry for the part I played in losing this customer. I feel like I lost contact with them about 30 days ago when their shipment was late. I should have picked up on the fact that they might be disgruntled and given them a call. What steps can we implement across the board that will prevent this from happening again?”
Regardless of the industry you work in, you can apply the above example to your job. Do you see what happened? The apology became “ownership” which then turned the meeting into a “problem solving” campaign instead of a finger pointing session, and you’re the one who spearheaded the whole thing. BOOM!
Whether you’re in management or a temporary employee with the least amount of experience, the apology is a vital skill to develop. Once you learn how to own your part of the blame, it’s no big deal, and definitely not a sign of weakness. Mistakes are made every day. Own yours, find solutions and move forward. You have no idea how many managers and business owners will stand up and take notice when you adopt this type of “solution based” attitude. You’ll become one of the people who “gets things done” instead of someone who gets lost in the shadows.
Are you ready for some positive changes in your workplace? Take ownership of your position and learn the art of the apology. It’s truly a skill that will put you on the fast track to success!
Speaking of success, if you’re looking for a new employment opportunity, give HH Staffing Services a call today! We have a wide range of positions available, with new opportunities opening all the time. HH Staffing Services offers permanent and temporary employment to the Tampa, Bradenton, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale areas. We’ll evaluate your skills and help you find an opportunity that’s just right for you!
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