“I ‘m Sorry”: How It’s Affects Your Career

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“I ‘m Sorry”: How It’s Affects Your Career
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Sorry to bother you. Sorry to interrupt. I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand? Sorry I missed your call.Sound familiar?While it’s true that acknowledging and fixing your error shows integrity, humility and strength in character—apologizing for every little mundane workplace occurrence can actually work against you.Business Week reports a study by Australian scholars that talks about how “apologies act as a transfer of power from the offender to the victim,” according to the article. “By refusing to apologize, the researchers say, the harm-doer retains a sense of control and power.”And distinguishing between a necessary or unnecessary apology can help you better manage control in the workplace.We dug into this topic a little deeper and asked several communication and psych experts about the do’s and don’ts of apologizing in the workplace. What we found can help you manage your professional reputation a little better:1. Save Your Sorry: Words Lose Meaning When Used too OftenMinor interruptions, longer than usual emails, occasionally hogging the printer is a part of life. Save your sorry for when you really feel and need to express authentic regret.Janet Paskin, who wrote the article mentioned on Business Week, did her own little experiment and found that “ the more times you say you’re sorry, the less it means; the less meaningful, the easier it is to say,” she said in the article.In minor office situations, it’s easy to use “sorry” as a filler word in everyday conversations. Try to be conscious of when you do this. Limit your apologies for when you genuinely feel sorry versus force of habit.2. Instead of Saying ‘Sorry,’ Be ProactiveJust because you refuse to apologize for little things doesn’t mean you can’t act kindly. Let’s say you interrupted someone to ask them a question – rather than apologizing, you could proactively ask your colleague “hey, when is the best time for us to discuss XYZ?”Boom. No apology needed for this mundane situation. And, you’re also a considerate colleague too! Win-win.Plus, “an employee who makes a simple mistake may try to win back a boss’ approval by repeated apologies – but the employee who simply acknowledges the mistake, moves on, and does a better job the next time has not only shown remorse for the mistake made, but shown through actions it won’t happen again,” says Lindsey Wagner, Esq. Attorney.3. After a Legitimate Mistake, Apologize without ExcusesThe strongest professionals take full responsibility and rectify their mistakes as soon as possible. And they do it without excuses. For instance, Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, social psychologist , offers a great list of common excuses people use on LifeHacker:
“ I didn’t mean to…”“I was trying to…”“I didn’t realize…”“I had a good reason…”The problem with these excuses is that your colleague or boss simply doesn’t really want to hear about you at this point. “Therefore, stop talking about you and put the focus of your apology where it belongs: on him or her,” Halvorson says in her piece on LifeHacker.And when the mistake is large and you were involved in some way, stepping up and taking the blame can strengthen your reputation. “When someone accepts responsibility, they’re basically saying, ‘I’m in charge,’ ” Adam Galinsky, a Columbia Business School professor who studies negotiation and power told Business Week. “And when they promise to fix it, they’re saying, ‘I’m capable.’Credit: Career Bliss
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