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The Art of Apology

Since we’ve already looked at taking responsibility, let’s focus here on how to apologize well. I’m a huge fan of good apologies; when they are genuine and warranted, they can resolve conflict, lower resistance, build respect, and disarm the toughest critic. I’ve often seen John McDermott apologize, and he does it very cleanly. “I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer about what I expected from you in that situation,” I once heard him say to an executive who works for him. “I want to make sure I’m being clear now.” It was a perfect example: I’m sorry; here’s what I did (with no caveats); here̵...


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A genuine apology can go a long way toward resolving hard feelings and setting the stage for future collaboration.