A Thought About Apologies

As much as you strive for a pleasant and stress free day, things can go wrong at any time. Life happens. Have you ever had one of those experiences where something has gone awry and it is simply a case of miscommunication? Once identifying that component of the challenge, every once in a while the next step is realising that a good old apology from one person to another may be the end result and usually it feels pretty good to be the one offering an apology.

Last week, someone contacted me about a personal situation and, in the end, there was an exchange of apologies after a rather animated discussion. Though I think the other party meant to be sincere when offering some apologetic pleasantries, I am still not so sure.

That’s what this blog is all about, the sincerity behind apologising. It’s a bit off topic for a company blog but it does cross over to business. Many entrepreneurs working round the clock will tell you that the path to success is not always a straight line, and there will be times when misfortune strikes and you have to make amends.

A genuine apology diffuses tension and resolves a stressful situation; on the other hand, a lack of an apology can leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth. What is it about certain apologies that leaves us unsettled or even annoyed? Expressing true compassion and remorse are the two important ingredients and if those are missing, an empty ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t cut it.

In my opinion, the first step to resolving an unpleasant situation is understanding why somebody is frustrated and how something has affected them personally. Taking the time to put yourself in their shoes, to listen, empathise and understand why they feel the way they do is an important step – but it’s something a lot of people don’t take the time to do.

The second part is simply expressing remorse for the situation. An off-hand ‘sorry, mate’ without any real feeling doesn’t help much if you’ve placed your friends, family or even, customers, in a challenging situation. A genuine “I’m really sorry for what happened and how this has impacted you” is always going to garner a more positive reaction.

With today’s online universe of dealing with faceless screens at its peak, virtual behaviour sometimes breeds a lack of sincerity. I think you’ll probably recall times where it was hard to digest the tone in an email or a text message. This crosses personal and business life equally.

It’s certainly given me something interesting to think about and prompts me to remind our teams that, as a business, we always want our customers to have a genuine and unique experience with Gradwell. We hope we never owe you an apology, but if we ever do we will certainly be the first to give you one. Our passion is our customers and we strive to never lose sight of that.

 

2016-01-22T15:19:11+00:00

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