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Leading With An Apology

I am no stranger to the art of the apology.  I’m a husband and the father of two daughters — I even apologize to the dog when it is his bath time.  It’s quite likely I even owe heavy interest on some overdue apologies out there.

I understand the apology as relieving some of our contrition when we’ve done something wrong (or are perceived to have done something wrong), however we also see it in leadership, marketing and fundraising settings.

When delivering difficult news or during a crucial conversation: I’m sorry to say this… or I’m sorry I have to do this…

A recent e-mail marketing piece read: Real sorry to trouble you…

Fundraising solicitation: I apologize for having to ask you for a donation…

Hmmm.  If you need to apologize before (or after) the act or statement, should you be doing or saying it?   Does it not mean enough to you that you need to apologize?  Do you not believe in it?  Where’s the passion?

Incorporating an unnecessary apology in our communication dilutes the message and will not likely lead to empathy, action, agreement or alignment.

If you need to lead with an apology, you’re not leading.