How a leader says “I’m Sorry”

Recently, tech giant Apple suffered a huge embarrassment. It was discovered that third-party contractors were using the Siri Function to listen in on private conversations and intimate moments of its users. This violation of trust could definitely affect the future of the company. The leadership at Apple had to respond quickly and that is what they did. Leaders understand the value of trust and work hard to protect it. That means making people feel it when you say, “I’m Sorry.” Apple moved swiftly to make changes to their policy. On the same day the news broke, I noticed that there was an update issued for my Apple Watch. Apple collects Siri information in order to improve the function. Before, users had to take steps in order to opt out of this data collection program. Because of the update, the default is that users must opt into the program. This move proves that Apple is willing to go the extra mile to protect that bond of trust.

Because we are human, we are prone to make mistakes and send messages that we don’t mean to send. Sadly these mistakes can cause unintended harm. As a leader in the classroom it is imperative that you go the extra mile to show students what it looks like to own a mistake and fully apologize. How a leader says “I’m sorry” impacts the culture in the classroom. Here are four things to keep in mind when you apologize to strengthen that bond of trust:

  1. Specifically state the mistake(s) you made and why it happened.
  2. Determine what adjustments you need to make in order to prevent it from happening again in the future.
  3. Avoid trying to defend yourself while apologizing.
  4. Ask what you can do to make it better.


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