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Should you apologize?

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

For a leader, a public apology always involves risk. Here are some questions to help you walk the line between stonewalling and groveling:

• What use would a public apology serve? Are you right? If so, would apologizing help anyway? Are you wrong?

• Who would benefit? You, your customers, your organization and/or other people and institutions?

• Why would it matter? For strategic reasons? For moral reasons?

• What will happen if you apologize publicly? Would it placate people and hasten a resolution? Would it incite haters? Would it affect your liability?

• What would happen if you didn’t apologize? Would your hesitation or refusal to apologize worsen the situation?

— Adapted from “A Framework for Apologies,” Barbara Kellerman, Harvard Business Review.

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