“Don’t be sorry; just don’t do it again!”
How would you respond to this comment from a customer? A friend? A manager?
A young worker at a local establishment was given the above advice from a disgruntled customer. There was a small error done during their service, and the honourable response seemed to be to apologize. No harm, no foul, right?
Wrong. I too often find myself in that same position as the customer when I have been slighted in some way. The last word, some way to make sure the person really understands what they did wrong. When the table turns it seems ironic that a person would not give an apology if they truly did not understand a wrong was done. Even if they are not at fault.
So should you not apologize? Or should we just expect people to do it differently?
Both. When I help people with how they communicate and diffuse potentially explosive situations, both seem to be the right answer:
- Apologize. Empathy speaks volumes to humanity, even if there was nothing that could be done to prevent it. Think of a time where something went wrong for you, and everyone acted like they just did not care. Acknowledging feeling does wonders for the soul.
- Learn. Yes, learn from errors you may have committed, but moreso from the ones you experienced. That means taking notes on how mistakes occur around you and how people responded. And then learn to do better.
- Mistakes will still happen. Life will continue, and you may even commit the same mistake again. It happens. But not learning from it and expecting others to ‘deal with it’ is not acceptable. Learning is not always about action; it is also about character and self awareness.
- People may still be jerks. You have no control over this fact of life, only of your own attitude and actions. The above comment will most likely still come your way, because the person may just be a jerk…or had a bad day…or felt belittled by someone…or just does not know how to respond to people.
Learning to communicate and work well with others is a life time process, so continue to learn and grow as you go!
Need more help with communicating and interpersonal skills? Contact me and let’s set up an appointment!