One of the traits that I am looking for in leaders is when a person is swift to apologize.

Why is this so rare? And why is it accepted for leaders not to take responsibility when they have done wrong?

There are few things that infect an organization more than when the lack of taking responsibility for actions is not present.

Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. A leader’s mistake will often influence more people than someone that is not in a management position. Therefore, it is of utter importance that one of the characteristics of a leader should be to be quick to owning up to actions and communications that have been wrongful.

A manager’s credibility goes very quickly down the drain because of lack of apologizing.
Blame shifting is unfortunately more common that apologies. Blame the situation, blame the circumstances, blame other people, find a scapegoat…I have seen it all.

One of the healthiest work environments I have been in as an employee was in Cincinnati, OH. I had a manager who knew how to be real. What I mean by being real is that she was aware of both her strengths, which were many, as well of aware of her shortcomings. I remember the first time I heard her apologize and it was like music to my ears.

I had come from a different organization where we had a boss who thought so highly of himself that nobody dared to question him. Have you ever met the kind of person where you think: “This person has never apologized for anything to anybody during his whole life!” Unfortunately, they are not rare birds. And they are incredibly toxic to the work environment and their employees.

To apologize is to take responsibility. It is a straightforward way of saying: I did wrong.
A leader is also quick to apologize even if his intention never was to hurt. A leader is aware of that what counts is peoples’ perceptions.

Insecure leaders often lack the trait of sowing the good seeds around them. The seeds of humility where prestige does not come in the way.

Apologies are the best cure for defense mechanisms. It’s a sign that a person is genuine and real. Apologies give nourishment to a great work environment.

Have a brilliant day!

Ulf Lidman