Have you ever said something that you immediately regretted but your big old ego won’t let you apologize? Of course you have. We all have. We’re human.
More and more I’m learning to understand the value of saying “I’m sorry”. What I’ve learned pretty quickly in my organization is that the relationships I have with the people I work with is a real game changer, and I think that an apology, when warranted, is an investment into the future of our team.
At first, saying I was sorry made me uncomfortable…that ego! But as soon as I started doing it I learned that it came with many benefits. Here are some of the immediate benefits I noticed in our office:
It connects me to my team. Each team member knows that I am human and even though I am the visionary in the company I don’t always have all of the answers. I like to try new things, change our direction, and pivot fast. We’re moving so fast that I make honest mistakes. When I do, and somebody is affected by it, I choose to acknowledge it and apologize as soon as possible. When you work in a small and chaotic environment, and somebody feels slighted, it can quickly be felt throughout the office. Apologizing keeps us focused and has added strength to the relationship I have with my employees.
It encourages a culture of accountability. I’ve noticed that I don’t only give apologies with ease, I also receive them. I appreciate the way that our team is quick to take responsibility and apologize when they have done something that affects what we’re doing. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, the fact that that we each own up and apologize strengthens our team and keeps us moving forward.
It keeps our customers happy. We make mistakes. We work hard but when something negative happens that affects our customers, we need them to know that we’re sorry. We have a ‘run to the fire’ rule where we are quick to apologize and attempt to fix the problem before our client can call us to complain. This leaves our customers feeling valued and attended to and happy to continue to do business with us.
Our team, as a whole, is more forgiving. We can’t hold grudges when apologizing is a part of our culture. We don’t sweat the small things because at the end of the day we are all different personalities working in a small office on the same goals. We are all giving 110% when we work, and when someone in the office is having an ‘off’ day or we’re dealing with somebody who isn’t as jovial as we are, we just don’t let it land. We understand that everybody has bad days and we don’t spend any extra time thinking or talking about it.
Learning to apologize has changed my business. It’s very much like magic with the power to repair harm and strengthen relationships. For me, it’s not just a corporate nicety, it’s an important ritual. It’s a way of showing respect and empathy for the people I work with and service. If done sincerely and effectively, it can bring your team and business to another level.