Byron's Babbles

An Apology Is Ownership

An apology is ownership. When reflecting on the people I respect most, they are the ones that have no trouble saying “I was wrong,” or “I’m sorry I…” When we apologize, we are putting honesty and honor above personal comfort or self-protection. It requires a great deal of courage. Since everyone makes mistakes, it gives us legitimacy to admit to and own our mistakes. Great leaders model the behavior of admitting mistakes. It can, and does, build a community of trust.

Apologizing when trust has been broken is particularly important. This was the topic in Simple Truth #49, “A Successful Apology Is Essential In Rebuilding Trust” in the great book Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways To Be A Servant Leader and Build Trust, Making Common Sense Common Practice, Ken Blanchardand Randy Conley. We were told by Conley that, “Delivering a successful apology is essential to rebuilding trust that’s been eroded” (p. 127). Additionally, I appreciated Randy Conley’s reminder that we must make a commitment to not repeating the behavior. He said, “An apology is only as effective as your attempt not to repeat the actions that eroded the trust in the first place” (p. 127). This is about follow through. If we don’t attempt to change the behavior people question not only our courage, but also our trustworthiness.

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