Aaron Lazare has written an excellent book, On Apology.
Lazare’s research says that the four components of a good apology are
- I did such-and-such an action
- it harmed you in this way
- I genuinely regret having done this
- I am taking concrete steps to ensure that it does not happen again to you or others.
Lazare found that, when doctors use this sort of apology with sincerity, it dramatically reduces the rate at which patients (or families) sue.
Hat tip to Aimee Yermish.
I believe good leaders admit errors quickly, fully, and candidly, and the best leaders also apologize the same way. Admitting errors and apologizing are part of keeping a positive relationship with others. You cannot be an effective leader while having bad relationships — it’s not possible.
Good leaders are good because they are able — through persuasion, influence, inspiration, and the strength of their character — to get outstanding results through the efforts of other people.