Sorry Not Sorry

Work mean you often must say I'm sorry



Work means you often must say I’m sorry


 What is the easiest way for a boss to make an employee feel good?


This is not a trick question. And when I present the answer a few words from now you are going to be amazed at how simple it can be to build a relationship based on trust and appreciation.

 The answer is this: I’m sorry.

 No, I don’t mean I’m sorry for giving you the answer. I mean bosses need to check their egos more often and apologize to those they work with when things go south because right now they are not saying it near often enough – or employees aren’t hearing it if they are.

 This came to light in a research from The Forum Corp., which said most managers (89 percent) believe they apologize all the time at work. The message, however, isn’t being received since very few employees (19 percent) ever hear the boss say “sorry.”

 The Forum survey, which covered 954 managers and employees throughout the country, discovered one issue where both managers and employees agreed. The need for both to trust each other has never been more important: 69 percent of workers say it’s more important now for them to trust the boss; and 74 percent of managers say its more important now for employees to trust them.

 So everyone agrees. The need to build trust in the workplace – and perhaps for life overall – has never been more important.

 So what’s the rub? According to the study, bosses are afraid to apologize for these reasons:


--51percent say they would look incompetent.


--18 percent said they would look weak.


--Another 18 percent simple said it is “not necessary” to say you’re sorry.


--7 percent said, “I’m the boss, I shouldn’t have to.”


Personally, I wouldn’t work for anyone who said any of the above. I also have a feeling that one of the reasons employees don’t hear their bosses apologize is because they often just aren’t doing a good job of listening. The skill in most need of improvement on the worksite by all sides these days is listening – but that’s a message for another day.

 Here are two things to keep in mind. Employee trust is connected to engagement and the higher level of employee engagement the more successful a business will be. That’s No. 1. This is No. 2: Workplace trust, for a wide variety of factors, many of which none of us can control, is running at low tide. You can start turning that around without much effort simply by admitting it out loud when you make a mistake.


By the way, if you don’t like this article … I’m sorry.




About the Author

Don Henninger


About Don Henninger


Don Henninger has been a top media executive and business leader for over 35 years in Arizona.

His newspaper journey ultimately led to his role as managing editor of the Arizona Republic and then later publisher/CEO of the Phoenix Business Journal.

His experience and connections were the basis for over 850 columns, must-reads for anyone in business.

He now works as a leadership, business development and communications consultant, with services ranging from public speaking and team building to executive-level relationship development.


 Email: [email protected]

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