You so often get yourself into more trouble when you try to sort things out with someone you’ve upset.
In an effort to justify your actions, you typically tell them why you did what you did. But they don’t seem to sympathise with that.
And so the situation often goes from bad to worse.
So that doesn’t work.
Instead, I recommend this approach…
Take Four Steps
Step one: Ask yourself, “How do I want my relationship to be with this person?”
Step two: Jump into their shoes and carefully consider the impact that you had on them.
Step three: Put your need to justify your actions in your back pocket.
They don’t care about your reasoning when they’re in pain.
They don’t care that you’re not feeling understood.
So skip justifying what you did.
Step four: Apologise for the impact that your actions had on them.
And that’s it—no more, no less, just these four steps.
No describing why you did what you did. No defending anything at all.
Only apologise for the impact your actions had on them, for example…
“I’m sorry that the lateness of my report meant that you
couldn’t include critical information in your presentation
—and that had you feeling like you were behind the
eight-ball. My apologies.”
“I can see that my comments in this morning’s meeting
created some awkwardness for you.
I sincerely apologise.”
Will This Be Easy Or Difficult For You?
For some leaders, my recommended four steps are easy. And for others, they’re hard work.
To be frank, it can feel like hard work if you have an alert ego that steps in—and drives you to attempt to protect yourself.
Ironically, what the ego thinks is “self-protective” is actually self-destructive.
Defensively justifying your actions won’t help you create your targeted relationship with the peeved person—so you’ll need to manage your ego.
Your Call To Action
Next time someone’s peeved with you, will you (at least temporarily) forget about your needs—and instead, attend to your peeved person’s reality by using these four steps.
It’ll put you and your relationship with them in a much-improved place.
About The Author:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders—hundreds of them—for more than 25-years.
She’s helped leader after leader feel total pride in who they are as a leader—confident, courageous, impressively influential (even when they’ve previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with it).
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She’ll draw on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit your situation.
She’s never too busy to talk to you—or to leaders you refer who’re in a hurry to boost their success. Email to arrange a time to chat: firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s not a day goes by when I don’t hear your voice in the back of my head,
picking up on an opportunity to use the skills we worked on during my coaching.”
— Infrastructure & Operations Manager, Manufacturing Company