There is a moment that encourages people, especially women, to say “I’m sorry” less frequently. Some feel that females apologize for things that do not warrant a mea culpa when the same sentiment can be achieved with a “thank you” instead.

For example: “I’m sorry I’m late” can be replaced with “Thank you for waiting on me” or “I’m sorry to ask you for a favor” to “Thank you for helping me out.”

There may or may not be merit to this line of thinking but what I do know is that “I’m sorry” still has its place – specifically in the customer service realm. I recently was overcharged – again – at Sam’s and while the manager gave me a robust explanation for how the error occurred, he never apologized, either with an “I’m sorry” or even a “thank you”.

And when American canceled yet another of my flights, the customer service rep was so unhelpful that I spoke with her manager and he, too, failed to give any type of apology for requiring a mad dash to the airport a day before my originally scheduled flight as the only option to make it to my destination before my gig.

It is one thing to apologize unnecessarily but it is far more egregious not to apologize at all when warranted. Don’t be sorry that you neglected to express regret when you fail to serve.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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