The Sales team of a Pharma company was present for a project review meeting. John the project lead, felt excited to share his carefully researched presentation with his boss Sonia, and other team members. But he could not notice the same project zeal in his boss and can understand that she was stressed. It was apparent to other team members as well. Ignoring the tense atmosphere he carried out with his presentation and tried to involve the attendees. The session was going smoothly, with a proper explanation of all plan of actions required for the project. However, Sonia pointed out a minor error and berated John for not considering tiny points. She also accused the team of not putting in quality efforts. Her hurtful words embarrassed John and he felt disappointed, even the team was demotivated by Sonia’s harsh behaviour. The meeting could not be concluded and ended before the schedule.
As the week passed John and the team expected their boss to apologize for her behaviour. But Sonia didn’t however she was able to notice the team’s resentful and unproductive behaviour after the incident. She was remorseful over her harsh behaviour which resulted because of her wrestle with business continuity planning during COVID-19. She was feeling unhappy, apologetic, and was worried about losing out a collaborative team. Being an empathetic leader she has always inspired and empowered her team but the incident loosened the bond. Sonia felt remorse for her actions but was struggling to express it in an appropriate way.
We know, all of us make mistakes and disappoint people around us somewhere or the other. But accepting the mistakes and apologizing help us become a good leader, build trust and understanding in our relationship. It also restores the dignity of the hurt person, makes them feel comfortable, and strengthens our bond with them.
But apologizing is not always easy, it is sometimes challenging for many of us. As humans, we all like to receive a heartfelt apology, but giving it, is a challenging endeavor. An Apology doesn’t come easily or naturally for most people, because they fail to identify a suitable way to express it. So, let’s try to find out some alternative behaviour in Sonia’s case to express apology.
- Mention and discuss the important points in the presentation through email
- Sharing some important links for improvement in projects
- Write an email or message appreciating John’s performance in last projects
- Discussing a last successful project with the team
- Posting a picture of team achievements on social media or intranet
- Ask for assistance in a different on-going project
- Call on a team meeting to discuss the situation(COVID in this case) and brainstorm the ideas for a proper plan of action
- Arranging for a stress management program
- Organize a team lunch or get together
- Depicting a calm and caring behaviour
There could be numerous other ways to express regret and acknowledge fault but we struggle sometimes considering our position and image. Being a great boss doesn’t mean one has to be perfect all the time, what matters more is your readiness to acknowledge your faults and other people feel. And you would be able to do this only when you are an empathetic person. Empathy enables us to open our hearts and mind and understand the world from the perspective of others. Sonia was unhappy because she was able to identify her fault and was empathetic towards John and her team. Empathy not only makes you a successful leader but also plays a critical role in understanding and resolving conflict. It helps you establish trust and build relationships. Empathy shapes an individual and also transforms society. It develops an individual’s ability to humanize with others and create a better understanding of situations. This promotes harmony among people and helps in finding an easy solution to any conflict or problem. After all, empathy is not only an important trait in the workplace but also in your personal life as well.
So, let’s empathize to establish a better workplace and live a peaceful life.