I have a friend. He is a pretty good leader, loves his people, and they know it. Occasionally, however, he lets his emotions get the best of him and says something hurtful to someone. He immediately regrets his actions and apologizes, hoping any damage can be repaired and that amends can be made for his transgression.
Recently, we discussed his situation and I told him this. Fix your bad actions, don’t just apologize for them. If you continue to express regret for your hurtful behavior rather than correct it, you are not being a leader…you are being a selfish individual.
When someone accepts your apology, they are not telling you everything is okay…they are giving you a second chance to change. It does not matter that your bad behavior rarely occurs. In time, even people who respect you and trust you most will withdraw, build shields to protect themselves, or leave…all of which can have devastating consequences.
People need a safe and predictable work environment to flourish. Providing this is your primary responsibility. If you cannot, then you will fail as a leader and no amount of apologizing will change that. Fix whatever is going on inside you, then become the leader that everyone looks to for encouragement, guidance and support.
Be intentional about it…
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