The media are peppered with apologies from politicians, business people and celebrities. Even television journalism had one of its own stars caught in an apology-loop recently.
These apologies are usually incomplete hedges designed to preserve the speaker’s status while admitting enough to make the inquiry go away. It rarely works. Their nonapology just gets replayed the next time another famous person does the same.
There is much to be learned in the workplace from how the powerful and entitled mishandle these things.
At work, sincere apologies play an important role. They clear and prepare a productive relationship to grow again. Both managers and employees need to understand their power and place.
If soft skills differentiate an average employee or manager from a great one, then the ability to recover from a soft skills train wreck is key. Think of the times you gave or received a sincere apology in your personal life. They have the same effect at work.
Bruce Clarke, J.D., is CEO of CAI, helping more than 1,000 North Carolina employers maximize employee engagement and minimize employer liability. For more information, visit www.capital.org.