Be Human

We all make mistakes. Honestly, it’s the most human thing we can do. We mess up, we apologize, and try to make things right. But sometimes the apology and make-right can be scary, especially if the mistake we’ve made has to do with a relationship with one of our stakeholders. It might be trivial or catastrophic; either way, it’s never fun to deal with. But it’s okay, and it’s something we can work through. Here are four things that can help to repair a broken relationship. 


Pick Up the Phone… 

…or walk to their desk, whatever is easiest for you. My recommendation for when situations like this arise is to not try to mend things through text. While there are certainly some people who prefer to get all their communication over text or email, avoiding face-to-face conversations, I often find that using my voice is a better way to convey sincerity. You can’t hide things in your voice or on your face as easily as you can through text. Getting in a phone call or heading across the office usually doesn’t take much time, but it goes miles in showing that you care about the relationship and the person you have it with. But if they prefer to avoid face-to-face and phone calls, don’t force it! If a text is what they want, I’m sure you can convey what you want to say there too; I believe in you! 


Be Human 

We aren’t robots, we’ve all got emotions, and they’re going to be charged in situations like this on all fronts. Knowing that in advance is how we protect ourselves from acting rashly. We all need a little space to decompress after stress kicks in, so we should be sure to give ourselves—and our stakeholders—enough time for that. Once we can talk about it, be human. Even if the relationship you have is a business one, the conversation should be personal.  

One of our core tenets of the Your Clear Next Step Changemakers program is the ability to build authentic human connection, and I believe it is a sign of understanding and strength to be able to do that. To see past a position and see the person occupying that seat instead. 


Save the Relationship 

Making mistakes is natural, and it’s totally okay if it happens. But what if, in this case, we didn’t make a mistake or we didn’t believe we were wrong, but they believe we were. I’ve long believed that if I’m 100% sure that I’m 100% right and the other person is 100% wrong, then I’m out of line. There’s always more than one way to look at a given topic or issue, and their perspective is their perspective. If my words hurt them, regardless of whether I meant to be hurtful, then my words hurt them, and I need to apologize.    

Sometimes, it’s more important to heal than to be right. Don’t press the issue, it’s not the end of the world if they can’t see where we’re coming from. And if I dig in my heels and the argument progresses, things might get worse, and that’s the opposite of what we’re going for. 


Own What Is Ours 

Of course, there’s always the likely side of the coin. What if we were wrong, and we can see that? My advice: Own it. Apologize for it. Restore, and move on as quickly as possible. Failure happens, it’s not something to beat ourselves up over. Owning up to our mistakes is the first step in making them right. A direct apology is another fantastic way to convey sincerity and demonstrates that we know that we made a mistake, which means we aim to not repeat it. Then, we can find a way forward, one that doesn’t involve the same error being repeated. 

As humans, we all make mistakes, isn’t that why they call it human error? But as humans, we also need each other, so when we realize that our mistakes have jeopardized the relationships we have with the people around us, taking a few steps to restore and protect the relationships can go a long way to making our journey a little better. 


How about you? What makes your journey with other humans better? 



Topics: Communication & Collaboration, Emotional Intelligence

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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