There is a sign at our local Jimmy John’s sandwich shop that reads:

Proper Apologies Have Three Parts
1.  What I did was wrong
2.  I feel badly that I hurt you
3.  How can I make this better

It is a simple mantra, but powerful one.  Often we say “I’m sorry” and expect that to fulfill our obligation or to make things “all better.”  I think that Jimmy John’s has the right idea that the apology should go further to truly have impact.

The next time you do something wrong, keep the three parts in mind.  It won’t undo the fact that you erred, but it has far more potential to right your relationship with the person you offended.

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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