How to apologize like a mean man

Bad apologies Mark Lipton, a graduate professor of management at The New School in New York City, writes in his book Mean Men: The Perversion of America’s Self-Made Man of a modern culture that forgives toxicity among business leaders as long as they’re stars. According to Lipton, here’s how you can (unfortunately) sound just like them when the time inevitably comes to say you’re sorry for something:

1. Use vague language. Be imprecise when naming the behaviors that you are sorry for. Or just keep your mouth shut and ignore everything.

2. Diffuse responsibility. Whether it’s society, ignorance, bro-culture, being a jerk who can’t spell, or being the victim of a witch hunt, make sure you have something to blame.

3. Change focus/flatter yourself. In some cases, it becomes necessary to shift focus away from the wrongdoing and toward one’s accomplishments or sudden enlightenment. One powerful way to change focus is to deny wrongdoing entirely.

4. Watch the timing. Apologize only when beneficial for your image. And don’t consider whether the timing will ameliorate the hurt caused to the victim.