Why Leaders Should Be the First To Apologize, And 5 Keys to Doing It Well

You probably have a love/hate relationship with apologies.

You appreciate it deeply when others apologize to you.

But you find it difficult to apologize to others.

And let me guess, when you do apologize, you’re tempted to explain, justify or defend your action.

Which is not really an apology at all.

Please hear this. Two of the most powerful words a leader can utter are simply “I apologize”.

One of the reasons those two words are so powerful is because we hear them so rarely from leaders.

Think back over your life. When has a leader come to you, looked you straight in the eye, and offered an unconditional apology?

Rarely is my guess. Maybe never.

So let’s change that.

Here’s how.

 

5 Ways to Apologize Well in Leadership

At it’s heart, an apology is ownership. It says “I was responsible”. Whether you intended to hurt someone or mess up a situation is irrelevant.

Mature, responsible leaders know they are the problem, and they work hard to see and claim their share of anything that went wrong. They’re quick to accept blame, and even faster to assign credit to others when things go well.

These leaders know it’s not about them. It’s about the mission and the team.

So how do you apologize well in leadership?

Here are five guidelines that have helped me and that I’ve appreciated when I’ve seen them at work in other leaders:

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5 Leadership Myths Every Leader Should Abandon

Myths are everywhere.

It’s not that hard to roll our eyes at people who fall for urban legends.

That’s one of the reasons I really appreciate Snopes.com, a site dedicated to debunking urban legends.

Remember the stubborn myth a few years back about hotel operators using hotel key cards to download all your personal information? Because I stay in hotels regularly, so many people warned me about my hotel key. Thanks Snopes…..

But there are also leadership myths: Things that most leaders either believe are true that really aren’t.

I think we’ve all fallen for a few.

But how many are you still falling for?

And what’s stopping you from abandoning them now? Once you abandon them, you’ll be amazed at the progress you make.

 

5 Leadership Myths Every Leader Should Abandon

Here are 5 that I hate to admit I have fallen for at one time or another in my leadership.

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3 Things About the Unchurched America Can Learn From Canada (And 3 Things Canadians Could Learn from The US)

This is the week both Canada and the United States celebrate their birthdays. Happy 147th Canada, and Happy 238th America!

As a Canadian, I have always appreciated the United States as a neighbour, and I have the privilege of spending time with a lot of American and Canadian church leaders.

Although I’m anchored north of Toronto, almost 80% of the people who read this blog are Americans (Canada has the second highest number of readers. Australia, the UK, the Philippines (over 1000 readers a month from the Philippines alone!) South Africa, Singapore, New Zealand, India and Germany round out the top 10).

I always think we can learn from each other.

So in the spirit of Canada Day and Independence Day, here are 3 things I think we can each learn from each other.

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