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More Respect at Work: Stop Apologising For Things You Can't Help.

Mehr Respekt im Job: Hör auf, Dich für Dinge zu entschuldigen, für die Du nichts kannst.

I was once invited to a dinner where the hostess apologized to me for the fact that it was raining. I was astonished: firstly, it wasn't the hostess's fault that it was raining. And secondly, it's my own fault if leave my umbrella in the car and present myself outside the door wet.

Of course, this is a banal and very simple example of something that can have enormous consequences in a different context. Especially in a business environment. Because in a professional context, many people (more women than men) tend to apologise for things that they have neither caused themselves nor that actually require an apology.

«Fabric softeners» are unnecessary excuses that make you lose respect.

Excuses can come in very different forms. For example, when someone in a meeting throws in an unnecessary phrase like: «This might be a stupid question, but ...» and then saying what there is to say. Or someone says: «You've probably already thought of it yourself, but ...» and only after this opening comes the actual contribution.

These «disclaimers» are a form of self-protecting openers and come across as an apology. You basically apologise for speaking out. And because you are indirectly apologising for something that makes no sense, you are not only devaluing your own contribution, but also your own person.

When I say: «I'm not an expert, but...», it may well be with the intention of showing modesty. But the main result is that my own ideas and contributions are devalued from the outset and my presence is not respected.

The meaning of an apology

We must be aware that every apology is an admission of a mistake or an acceptance of responsibility for a mistake. And this is only really appropriate if you are directly responsible for a situation or had a negative influence on it. An apology is always an admission that something should not have happened or that it could have been handled differently. Which in turn implies that it is within your power and control.

Which is why it makes no sense to apologise for the rain.

Every unjustified apology undermines your authority. It has consequences for you and can weaken both your role and your influence. Because think about it: if you constantly apologise for things that are out of your control, you convey the feeling that you are not able to assess situations correctly or take responsibility when it really matters. This could make others doubt your competence and ability to work and make decisions effectively.

And apart from that, every misplaced apology will leave its mark on you because you are constantly sabotaging your own self-confidence. If you get into the habit of always feeling responsible, even for things you can't control, it will lead to constant self-doubt and in the long run you will live a life of insecurity and fear.



Lerne die Macht der Moderation und wie man mit einer durchsetzungsstarken Gesprächsführung Ergebnisse im Meeting erzielt

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