THE POWER OF Apologies
SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL SUPPORT Apologies Work Wonders
We’ve all been there. We Screw Up. Sometimes we screw up big!
See Will Smith slap Chris Rock at the Oscars. Sometimes we screw up small: see Brad Montgomery forget his anniversary. (Okay, that might be a big one.) And sometimes we screw up just right. (Well, I don’t really know what a “just right” screw up would be, but I got to thinking about Goldilocks and the Three Bears ….).
Anyway, I ran across an interesting article recently which talked about physicians and their screw ups. Why, you may be asking to yourself, would Brad Montgomery, motivational speaker, author, expert on the power of social and emotional support, and genuine good guy, be reading a medical journal? Okay, maybe I wasn’t really reading a medical journal, but somebody did mention to me how physicians who make a mistake in their practices, and who apologize to their patients, get sued waaaaay less often than their peers who don’t apologize. So I went to The Google. Sure enough, this research popped up. (Thank you oh great Google.)
Apologies—statements that acknowledge an error and its consequences, take responsibility, and communicate regret for having caused harm—can decrease blame, decrease anger, increase trust, and improve relationships, says this article. And I’m all about improving relationships, increasing trust, and most of all, increasing a person’s personal power to do good in this world through the use of emotional and social support. And it turns out by offering a sincere, genuine, authentic apology, one that acknowledges the mistake and takes responsibility for it, can not only bring two people closer together, but empower both the giver and receiver. And, bingo, that’s what emotional and social support is!
Most importantly in my mind is the fact that apologies can restore trust between the parties. And trust is one of those important values that people, including managers and leaders don’t think enough about. It’s an undervalued value (is that a thing? Undervalued value?). And it’s likely more undervalued in the workforce. Trust between CEOs and subordinates, managers and team members, team member and team member is crucial to building a strong, solid foundation in your work culture.
People need validation and acknowledgement. When someone screws up and offers an apology, the person on the other side of the screw up feels validated and acknowledged that their feelings, pain, and value to the other person are important and respected. This is important obviously in the medical profession where mistakes are often life and death. But it’s also important elsewhere in business and even in home life. If an employee feels like their boss doesn’t care enough to offer a genuine apology for something they did wrong, that can reverberate beyond just the relationship between that employee and supervisor, but throughout the department and possibly the entire enterprise. If company culture is such that higher-ups will not and cannot admit to their mistakes and make amends, trust between management and lower level employees deteriorates which leads to an underperforming business. Once trust goes, loyalty follows, along with work-place pride and commitment. It’s easy to see how that ends up with a substandard work environment and product.
If your business could be more successful (and whose business couldn’t, really?), call me, Brad Montgomery, to talk about employee engagement, trust, validation and social and emotional support. I am a motivational speaker and an expert in the people side of business and can help your people Embrace their Awesomeness.
Funny motivational speaker Brad Montgomery is an award winning, Hall of Fame speaker. He got his start as a comedian and magician, but now serves convention and meeting audiences in many fields including health care, real estate / REALTORS, sales people, educators and teachers, and 100s of others.
Give us a call, and we’ll talk about how to customize a program just for you and your audience.