Advertising
Advertising

Why It’s Important to be Wrong: The Valuable Art of Apology

Why It’s Important to be Wrong: The Valuable Art of Apology

    Have you noticed how obsessed we all are with getting things right? Not only that, but doing the right thing quicker and better than ever before. Everywhere you turn, there are books, magazines and blogs dedicated to making sure we have the secrets of success so we don’t screw up. In the face of all this rampant perfectionism, it’s easy to overlook the importance of being OK without getting it wrong now and then.

    I had a bad day yesterday. In fact, I would go so far as to say that my morning was one hot mess and that there is no one to blame but me. I handled a couple of issues SPECTACULARLY badly. By 10am, I had done some serious, but hopefully impermanent damage to some important relationships in my life, both personal and professional.

    Advertising

    To Err is human

    “Shut Up, Shut Up, Shut Up!”, the mature part of me was screaming, but unfortunately, this wasn’t the part of me that was driving the bus at the time. All in all, it was an epic fail on the “impulse control front.” For someone adept at navigating the grey complexities of ethics in both academic and professional life, it’s rather bizarre how obnoxiously black and white I can be when things get personal. Now that my blood pressure has gone back down to normal, I cringe as I reflect on my vehement and indignant behavior.

    Being able to see that we (may) have made an error of judgment is a good thing. Not least because it keeps our ego in check and teaches us some humility.

    The Customer is always right

    In business, the old saying “the customer is always right” still holds true. Customer service, or lack thereof, can make or break a company. At the foundation of good customer service is the ability to apologize and to do it well. One often cited example of best practice is from 1982 when a Japanese Airlines plane crashed in Tokyo Bay. The president of the airline went promptly and personally met with and apologized to each family of the crash victims.

    Advertising

    Not only is it the right thing to do, but in some cases, it actually pays to apologize. Take the world of medical malpractice, where the traditional consensus amongst attorneys defending doctors who were being sued used to be to advocate silence. However, some more recent research has challenged this way of thinking. One of the most famous cases is the VA Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. The Lexington VA has a policy surrounding medical error which actually encourages communication of sympathy and admissions of fault. Not only that but the VA is proactive in disclosing errors and offers help on how to file a claim.

    This policy of extreme honesty, practiced since the late 1980s, has reportedly reduced lawsuits and settlement and defense costs. Only three cases have gone to trial in 17 years, with the average settlement being $16,000, compared with the national VA average of $98,000.”

    Robert J Walling and Shawna S. Ackerman (2006) “Having to say your sorry: A More Efficient Medical Mal Practice Insurance Model.”

    The disclaimer

    While saying sorry might avoid a law suit in many circumstances, if you find yourself in a situation that has a chance of ending in legal proceedings, it is always advisable to consult an attorney because in some states, saying “I’m sorry” can be used as an admission of guilt in court.

    How not to apologize

    Of course, all apologies are not created equal and it’s said that in business, a bad apology can actually be detrimental in some circumstances. In a 2006 Inc. article, Allison Stein Wellner referred to research by Jennifer K. Robbennolt, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. In a study of apology letters written after a hypothetical accident, Wellner discovered that victims who received a partial apology (interpreted as I’m sorry if you think I should apologize) were actually less likely to accept a settlement offer than those who received no apology at all.

    Another common pitfall is what Lauren Bloom, attorney, ethics expert and author of the Art of Apology ebook describes as the “if/any game.” She describes it as one of the apology errors that politicians frequently make when they say, “if my actions offended anybody, then I apologize.”

    Advertising

    Elements of a good apology

    There is quite a lot of helpful information to be had on the art and/or science of apologizing. Some of the key elements are sincerity, timing, taking full responsibility, acknowledging the hurt or damage caused, asking for forgiveness, future intentions and restitution. The website PerfectApology.com points to the letter and video by Jet Blue founder and Ceo David Neeleman as a perfect business apology. “We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry…(for) the worst operational week in JetBlue’s seven year history.”

    Hard to say

    If it’s tricky to say sorry in business, how much harder is it in our personal relationships? Owning our short-comings can be hard. An apology can feel like an admission of failure, an undesirable acknowledgment of our human frailty. There is often fear attached to a real or perceived threat that an admission of a mistake may be used against us in the future. We may be afraid that our apology will not be accepted, that it will be greeted with anger, that it will result in more conflict when we seek to avoid confrontation.

    But, when all is said and done, I still believe that owning up to being wrong is the right thing to do. It equips us with the ability to see things from more than one perspective. It offers the opportunity to cultivate persistence and not to quit. It reminds us that life is not a performance or a test but a learning experience.

    Advertising

    Conclusion

    To err is human, as the saying goes, but to forgive is divine. I’m counting on the divine intervention necessary that I might be able to give myself and everyone else permission to screw up and to learn from our mistakes. For at the end of the day, sometimes it simply comes down to this, “Would you rather be right or be happy?”

    More by this author

    Breaking Up is Hard to do – 20 Questions to Help You Know When it’s Time to Let go Six Sizzling Suggestions to Make Valentine’s Day Last All Year Why Productivity Won’t Make You Happy: Life Lessons From a Dying Man Why It’s Important to be Wrong: The Valuable Art of Apology What You Ought to Know About Buying Perfect Holiday Gifts for Loved Ones

    Trending in Communication

    1 The Top 10 Dating Apps That You Won’t Regret Downloading 2 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear 3 Feel like Giving Up? 16 Way to Help Entrepreneurs Stay Motivated 4 How to Find Motivation When You’re Totally Burnt Out 5 How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on October 18, 2018

    The Top 10 Dating Apps That You Won’t Regret Downloading

    The Top 10 Dating Apps That You Won’t Regret Downloading

    Online dating is getting much more popular these days and now, plenty hard to avoid. Since Tinder and the wave of new apps that are coming out at a seemingly constant rate, it is becoming that much more popular to meet someone online.

    So we have put together the top 10  dating apps that you should be ready  to download in 2015.

    10. Tangle

    Basically a newer version of Missed Connections Craigslist, it matches you with people you walk by who are on the same app, and then if you both like each other, you can contact each other. It’s as simple and fun as Tinder, once you happen to walk by someone you actually like.

    tangle

      9. The Dating Ring

      This one is a professional matchmaking service that takes you out of the dating situation. For the more busy daters out there, it’s a great resource, as they seem to take the work out if to for you and you can then relax and get set up on dates as opposed to doing the research up front.

      The price is per date or monthly subscription.

      Advertising

      dating ring

        8. Ok Cupid

        A traditional site, but also an oldie and a goodie. Although you can be swarmed with many creeper messages, there are still a handful of quality users on the site that can make all the bad ones seem so much less important.

        You can search for people based on your preferences, get a match of the day, and see who is online. OkCupid also offers in-person single event mixers, which are a great way to actually get out of the house and date more, once you’re ready.

        screen322x572

          7. The Grade

          This new app measures you as an eligible date based on a grade. It grades on a scale of A to F, based on things like your messages and pictures.

          It’s a great way to weed out the creeper messages that women tend to get more, but also promotes better online dating behavior and not hiding behind a profile.

          the grade

            6. Siren

            Siren is a Q&A platform and based on the answers to the questions the women asks, she can then control who can see them in the app. It also features a question of the day, to which users can answer and see each other’s answers to generate conversations.

            Advertising

            Finally, for women, there’s the feature of a “siren call,” which allows for an announcement to basically call out to all the gentlemen in the app.  It’s a unique app, but the whole idea of submitting questions before you see the female user behind the question is not the best motivation to keep playing if your matches end up being someone you are attracted too.

            Siren

              5. Coffee Meets Bagel

              Here, you get a ‘bagel’ match a day based on your personal preferences. If you both end up liking each other, a private chat is set up that expires after a week.

              Coffee Meet Bagel lets you focus on one match a day as opposed to many many matches to sift through. Although it isn’t as high frequency as Tinder, for example, it is typically for more serious daters and people generally seem more engaged on the app.

              There are less things to worry about and no more multitasking!

              CMB

                4. Tinder

                The one that inspired and started making online dating cooler. Swipe right to like a profile, swipe left to pass.

                Advertising

                And should you choose, you can connect with the users that only swipe right. Yes, Tinder can feature many creepy users and people only looking for hook ups, but it’s fun, easy and addicting to use.

                tinder

                  3. Bumble

                  A women-centric new app that launched this past Fall, Bumble is similar to the Tinder format except that women need to make the first move 24 hours after a match is made or the connection disappears forever.

                  So far a great app with a good design, and since it launched internationally, you can end up matching with someone across the country. A great way to filter through the empty swipes and bots.

                  bumble

                    2. Hinge

                    Less random than Tinder, Hinge users only get matched with friends of friends, which seems like a safer and cooler way to match than with random people. It also limits the amount of matches you get per day based on your network, which weeds out the many bots that are becoming ever so normal on Tinder.

                    You also get to see a match’s education and work upfront. Then, you rate the match and the app sends you an introduction if it’s mutual.

                    Advertising

                    hinge

                      1. The Catch

                      Finally, something different than the Tinder wanna-be instant swipe. The Catch appears as a cross between “The Bachelorette” and “The Dating Game.”

                      Women are in the driving seat where they invite a group of men to play a Q&A game and narrow down the men contestants based on the guys’ answers. The combination of online gaming mechanics and the ‘thrill-of-the-chase’ attraction of real world dating provide a fundamentally more fun and entertaining way to find a match online.

                      And what’s more, men don’t need to spend hours and hours sorting through profiles and messaging women who don’t reply back. Instead, here they are invited to a game and get daily engagement that isn’t the old “swipe,” while women get to ask questions they care about the answers to, as opposed to a stock questionnaire.

                      thecatch.co

                        Featured photo credit: none via eu.fotolia.com

                        Read Next