There is saying, be slow to criticize and fast to apologize. A proper apology takes little time, and can do an lot to quell bad feelings.
There are a few steps to doing this right.
- Take ownership of the problem.
- Acknowledge the impact on the other person.
- Promise to do better.
- If appropriate, describe steps taken to prevent the action from happening again.
Here is an example:
- I sincerely apologize for the idiot that is president of the United States.
- I understand that his stupidity, insecurities, and racism have set world progress back a century. He never should have happened.
- I promise to continue to work to change the political compromise that allowed the loser of the popular vote to be elected, we should have fixed that decades ago.
- I assure you I will vote in the next election, and encourage my like minded friends to vote.
- As soon as he is out of office, we will work to undo the mess that he has caused.
- I am so sorry, we should have done better.
So there are the elements, take ownership, offer a sincere apology, acknowledge the harm, promise to do better, offer steps to be taken.
If I had said, sorry, but I didn't vote for the idiot (and I didn't) the apology has much less impact, it is in effect, saying sorry but it is not my problem.
What else do I need to apologize for today?