Two Words: I Apologize.

It happens.

You take your own advice and reflect on the email before you send it. You reread the other person’s note to you several times over different days to make sure you’re not having an impulse reaction, or you’re selectively reading words.

You try to match tone with authenticity, candor with courage. Call a spade a spade, lean into conflict, and state what you’re feeling.

You try to be in, be real, and be bold. Have the conversation that you think is being ducked.

But you realize after you’ve sent the note, helped by a friend’s observation that “it sounded like you took it personally,” that you crossed a line that the better part of you now regrets.

You were provocative without intent and realize that the impact, however, was the same; you provoked.

Do you think you had good reason?

Sure. Lots of them.

But it doesn’t mean that the “thoughtful, reflective person” you can be, should have been left to the part that feels regular human emotions.

So you send a note asking to talk (and apologize), and hope the other person is willing. Perhaps able.

Likely?

Who knows; all you can do is try.

But you hope you can say, “I’m sorry” and move on.

Guest author J. Mike Smith is a executive, career, and leadership team coach, helping individuals, start-ups, teams and groups perform significantly better.

Apology image courtesy of Shutterstock

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