The Two Hardest Words To Say In Your Office… “I’m Sorry”
Move over supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, you are no longer the hardest words to say (at least in an office setting). “I’m sorry” is now considered the toughest words to say in your office. Is it possible that the words “I’m sorry” are so simple, they’re difficult?
The words can do much more than resolve a problem in the workplace, they can show that you think logically, that you have compassion and respect for others, and that you are a mature adult/ employee.
Columnist Michael Feuer writes, “To promote coexistence when no one wants to take the first step and say, “I’m sorry,” it’s up to the adult in the room — and that would be you, the boss — to step into the fray with your whistle to call a permanent timeout to these types of disruptive shenanigans.”
The boss is responsible to step in when men and women, or should we say boys and girls, let stubbornness become problematic. Feuer also notes that women are just as responsible for the lack of “I’m sorries” as men, so we can throw out the “macho” claim.
Feuer says, “The most expeditious method that works with either the protagonist or antagonist in an office drama is to call a spade a spade, so to speak, and get the feuding parties together and cut to the chase, making each person agree to bury the hatchet but preferably not in each other’s skull. If employees’ anger management issues are left to fester, they can easily result in other people in the same work environment taking sides, and in short order, you will find yourself in the midst of a Civil War. The only thing guaranteed when this occurs is that there will be casualties. It is incumbent on the ruling manager to make sure that the company doesn’t wind up as the victim, incurring a loss of productivity and causing everyone around the two factions to feel as if they’re walking on pins and needles.”
This is the utmost important thing for any person in a management role to understand, because the meeting will almost always end with the problem solved (or at least better than before the meeting). So now is the time to realize that you need to apologize for the sake of yourself and your co-workers, otherwise you will have one of those awkward, time-wasting interventions with your boss as the moderator. Don’t be viewed as the office “problem child,” but as a mature adult who doesn’t need his hand held to solve internal problems.
Do you have any examples of when “I’m Sorry” is too difficult to say in an office environment?