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Managing to Make a Difference by Larry Sternberg

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Chapter 9Apologize

Plenty of managers just can't bring themselves to admit when they have screwed up in some way. Have you ever worked with a manager like this? Because they are in a position of power, everyone who reports to managers who can't apologize adjusts to it. They have no choice. These leaders just cannot say, “I'm sorry.” It's one thing to have power. It's another thing how you use it.

What kind of manager are you? If you make a wrong decision, if you are in error, do you own it? Do you apologize? Do you make amends? Or…are you the type of manager who wants to hold employees accountable but will not be accountable to your employees? It's not clear what is gained by this behavior, but here's what is lost: respect and moral authority. Your employees are not under the delusion that you have no flaws or that you make no errors. But if you do not own your errors, they will draw the conclusion that you are under that delusion. Thus the loss of respect and credibility.

Think about customers for a minute. When you are dealing with upset customers, and you are trying to make them happy, you know that in many cases just saying, “I'm sorry,” and meaning it is all those customers need. Horst Schulze taught this lesson:

A service recovery situation gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how much you care. In some cases, your relationship will actually ...

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