I Was Wrong, I'm Sorry!

Saying the word "sorry" is not easy, especially when you have to apologize to your colleague for a mistake you made.
Last Updated
June 15, 2020

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"It's hard for us to demonstrate vulnerability," said Ann Marie Siegel, a coach in Stamford, Connecticut. "We do not like to admit that we have made a mistake. However, it is very important to know how to apologize to the person you are working with, " she added.

However, this is a lesson that most people take some time to learn. Sometimes the company's company culture also contributes to the creation of barriers and obstacles to the expression of sincere regret.

"Many jobs have created a work culture in which perfection is raised on a pedestal. "Employees of these companies are afraid to admit their mistakes because they see it as a sign of weakness," said Henna Pryor, a coach from Philadelphia.

Despite all this, a person's ability to make sincere apologies when needed is extremely useful for resolving conflicts and maintaining a good reputation in the workplace.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right excuse for some of the most common workplace situations that require one:

You made a mistake that damaged the reputation of your colleague

We all make great efforts to build a positive image at work. You can come to the conclusion that if you damage the reputation of your colleague in any way, you must apologize to him.

Let's say you've given your coworker the data he or she needed to attract an important customer. However, the data was wrong and your colleague lost this customer forever. Because of your mistakes, the image of your colleague has suffered damage both in the eyes of this client and in the eyes of your boss.

It is important to take responsibility for your mistake and tell your colleague exactly what you will do to help restore his or her reputation.

Example: "I am very sorry for what happened! I take full responsibility and I will tell our boss that the mistake was mine."

You did not respond to an important email in a timely manner

Forgot to reply to an urgent email from your colleague? Contact him as soon as possible and offer to help him as much as you can, advises Courtney Templin of JB Training Solutions.

Example: “I just saw that I missed your mistletoe. Very sorry. I put everything else aside, how can I help you?

You're late for a meeting

"If you know you will be late for a meeting, let the person you need to meet or the person in charge of the collection know in advance - this way your delay will not be accepted as a sign of disrespect and lack of interest," says Eli Howieck, CEO of Crafted Career Concepts. If you did not miss this step, then an apology is required.

When apologizing, you must emphasize that this situation will not happen again in the future. Also, avoid frivolous excuses like "I forgot to make a note of it on my calendar." Be brief and clear.

Example: “I am very sorry that I was late! Will not be repeated."

You have not met the deadline for the implementation of your part of the work on a common project

In this case, actions say more than words. "You have to apologize, but you also have to roll up your sleeves and do the job you didn't do," Templin said.

Example: "I know I failed to meet the deadline and I apologize for that. I will work on this task over the weekend to make up for a lost time.

Sorry for the words you said or the tone in which you did it

"When you apologize, you have to distinguish the content of the message from the way it is presented," Howayek said. In this way, you will be able to express regret for your reckless behavior without dismissing the expressed fears and criticisms.

Example: "Alex, although I stand behind the words I said earlier, but my tone was inappropriate, for which I apologize."

Your colleague has caught you spreading gossip

Gossip breaks relationships and creates a toxic work atmosphere. If your colleague finds out that you have been spreading gossip about him behind his back, you should immediately address the situation directly and show that you are ready to do anything to regain his trust.

Example: "My actions were completely unacceptable. I want to apologize and promise you that this will not happen again. I realize that you will need time to forgive me and trust me again. If in the future I am unhappy with something you have said or done, I will speak directly to you, not behind your back.

No less important is knowing how to apologize to a colleague to know when to do it. However, be careful not to overdo apologies, especially when it comes to situations that are not under your control.

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