When we make mistakes, and they will happen, it gives us the opportunity to learn, grow and build trust in those fractured relationships. The Professional Services industry is built on trust and strong bonds. In any relationship, when you mess up, you need to own your part and sometimes -- even when you're not wrong -- take one for the team. Here's how:
Say, "I'm Sorry."
When you fumble, apologize. Say the words "I'm sorry" and let it be a complete sentence. Also, saying "I'm sorry you..." is not an apology, it's a kick in the pants.
When you realize your blunder, don't dodge phone calls -- make them. Standing up to the problem builds character and shows authenticity.
Just because you're at the top and feel invincible doesn't mean your firm can't suffer from an unforeseen error. Be honest. Don't pull a Lance Armstrong, because the truth always comes out. That doesn't instill trust.
When possible, speak from your heart. Don't let your apology sound like a legal rebuttal.
Don't Displace Blame or Make Excuses.
Blaming others doesn't build trust when you're a part of the problem. Own your part and keep your side of the street clean. Excuses don't fix the problem, they rehash it. Stay in the solution.
AEC professionals know that strong bonds can translate into more work and an increase in personal capital. Everyone's capacity for forgiveness is different, but if you practice these steps, you’ll be on the path to rebuilding relationships instead of terminating them. When you’re knee-deep in a mistake, shame can blind you from applying good relationship skills. It’s important to practice these steps in advance and feel comfortable letting those two words slide off your tongue. Find someone in your life you owe an amends and exercise that muscle. It's good practice, personally and professionally.