Learning to Apologize
When was the last time you had a situation arise at home or at the office that ended in a less than desirable way? How did you handle it? Did you think about all the things that the other person did that was wrong? Did you contemplate what was your part in this interaction? Did you decide to forget about the situation and just move on?
It’s interesting that in most cultures, we say I am sorry or apologize for many little things, whether it is for interrupting someone mid-sentence or stepping into their path in a hallway. For example, in Japan, we say we are sorry if we are about to eat first or leave the room. But when it comes to apologizing for something important with people we care about or those we rely upon at work, we seem to choke on the words. And if we manage to give an apology, it is often immediately followed by an explanation of why we did it. “I’m sorry, but….” The end effect is that we are really good at apologizing for things that are trivial, but for the people that really matter, our attempt at making an apology doesn’t really have an impact. In the end, we risk losing a piece of the goodwill in our relationships that can have a lasting effect in the long run.
What Gets in the Way?
First thought, sometimes it really doesn’t matter if you feel that the other person was 90% at fault and you were 10% at fault. Anyway, it is rare in any conflict that someone is 100% at fault....
Competitiveness seems can be perceived as normal for anyone on the job. It can be perceived as a sign that someone is doing all that they can to do to do the best job. Other times it can create barriers to trust and leave your colleagues wondering if you are on the same team (or out for your own agenda). I think that this behavior can also be perceived differently when exhibited by men or by women. While the behavior can be perceived as natural when exhibited by men, women who are competitive usually get some additional (and unflattering) labels attached to them at the first sign of competitiveness. When competitiveness becomes associated with you as a negative identity label, it can be coming from a behavior that you exhibit or it can come from others who feel that they need to compete against you for some reason. Don’t be surprised if you find your colleagues competing against you. That’s life. I choose to think of it as a compliment. After all, why else would that person be competing with you? You must be good at something that you do for them to notice you and choose to be competitive with you.
Is there a problem here? Maybe not, but I would be doing a disservice not to mention something for you to think about. It might be worth taking a look whether or not this is a problem if you ...
When was the last time you had a tense situation or conflict arise at work? A comment made by someone at a meeting, and email received that really affected you. Think about that situation for a moment. Did you send an email copying 15 other people on your position? Or did you make a sarcastic comment in response? Whether in the office or at home, managing conflicts is an issue that faces most people on a daily basis. Were you less than satisfied on how you handled yourself? Or do you feel you did everything right, yet the outcome was less than optimal? Managing through conflicts isn’t really about who is right or who is wrong. It’s about finding a workable solution that moves the issue forward. If you want to improve how you manage yourself through difficult situations, gaining awareness is really the first step.
Try stepping out of the situation and watching it as if it was a movie, with the actors, scenes, action, and the underlying scripts. While watching the movie, some of my clients find it easier to see things that they could not see.while being in the movie themselves. What was the thing that set you off? ...