Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Learning to admit you are wrong


Due to my nature I have a lot of experience with saying “I am sorry, I was wrong.”

This is a skill that junior faculty and doctoral students need to develop if they are ever to become senior faculty.

My colleague at Queen’s, Julian Barling ( one of the leading OB researchers in the world) spent a lot of time a few years ago studying meaningful and effective apologies. Some of the things he learned that made an apology effective were:

1. Be specific about what exactly you are apologizing for. say you are sorry and mean it.

2. Take personal responsibility for your actions.

3. Admit that people were hurt by your actions including the person you are apologizing to.

4. Explain the steps you have taken to ensure you will not make the same mistake again.

5. Be clear as to what you are going to do to restore things to the fullest extent you can and then do them!

Next post, things that you do not due when attempting to make an apology.

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