An Apology Empowers
An apology can empower a relationship.
Everyone is going to make mistakes.
Everyone will suffer or endure the consequences of their mistakes.
Mistakes made which impact others can hinder relationships.
Yes, silence about those mistakes creates a ‘trust gap.’
I have witnessed situations where a leader made a mistake, not a big one, but a mistake none the less, and it impacted another person on the team. He knew he had created the error, knew it had an impact, but he said nothing. From that day forward, the relationship between the boss and the team member was never the same.
Today, media outlets pick up on and replay multiple times hurtful statements, from both sides of an issue. While some of these are intentional others, seem to be misspoken. No matter there never seems to be an apology tossed into the fray.
What if a leader, any leader, misspoke and hurt someone by their words then apologized?
I can see the wheels turning in their minds, “if I apologize, I am admitting I made a mistake, and others will see me as weak.”
An apology does the opposite. It demonstrates a willingness to be vulnerable, which will open up communication.
Patrick Lencioni makes the case: a great team can only be built on a foundation of trust, and doing so starts by being vulnerable. There is nothing more vulnerable than admitting your mistakes.
Talking later, the team member mentioned above stated all they needed to hear was ‘I made a mistake,’ and the relationship could have been restored.
An apology empowers trust, through honest communication, with the potential outcome of building and restoring relationships.