Wednesday, 25 January 2012

When you need to apologize

As a leader, when you need to apologize, how do you do it?

When your school/organization messes up, avoid the half-hearted, half-baked apology. Instead craft a clear, strategic message that explains what went wrong and how you're rectifying the situation. Here are three tips for doing that:
  • Keep it simple. Get to the point and don't deviate. Don't include any veiled attempts to shirk responsibility or appease people. You'll just upset stakeholders (those you serve as well as your own staff) and muddle the message.
  • Mean what you say, and say what you mean. If you're truly sorry for your school's/organization's actions, say so and leave it at that. Avoid clarifying phrases and long, self-lauding explanations.
  • Reaffirm your school's / organization's core values. Reaffirm what you stand for and communicate how you intend to bring the school/organization back to the values that guided it to success in the first place.

Adapted from "Smart Apologies Should Be Strategic" by Rosanna M. Fiske.

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