When you think about important leadership qualities, vulnerability probably isn't the first thing to come to mind.
Ok….Maybe after watching your local news these days and hearing yet another politician say "I'm Sorry", it may lose some of it's bang. However, we can't let one bad apple spoil it for the rest of us, who may occasionally need to say we're sorry to a customer, client or boss.
There are certain fears that will keep us from coming clean about our mistakes. There is the fear of losing a job, fear of being embarrassed and the fear of feeling inferior. And though we all strive every day to keep out company's brand and our own brand "unblemished", we are human, and mistakes will happen occasionally. Being perfect is not as important as owning up to and taking responsibility when things do not go perfectly.
The ability to show vulnerability – at the right times- can help others get a sense of your true character.
Customers and clients and business peers all know that there's nothing worse than when someone skirts around an issue that they do not own – good or bad. Many of us have sat through meetings and conference calls where you see it happen all the time – people who do not admit when there are problems or try to "hide" from any conversations of the such. Once people come to see this side of you, it's hard to erase the impression.
By admitting our vulnerabilities, we become more of a partner, sharing the risks. People will push harder for leaders who show vulnerability. Your team will them learn to do the same for their clients, as well.
Lack of remorse may be good (temporarily) for a company's bottom line, but it isn't good for society. An economy's strength (globally) depends on people's willingness to trust businesses, and businesses' ability to trust one another. When problems pop up in business, a sincere apology is essential to restoring that trust. Vulnerability also shows others that we are human.
It is important to apologize the right way, especially in business issues. A business apology is somewhat different from a personal apology, but some of the same rules apply. No matter what the mistake, a proper apology can help to save your dignity and possibly your job.
State what you are apologizing for in a very direct and concise manner, and this includes stating clearly what it is that your apology is referring to. Begin with the reason for your apology, and then go on to the actual apology.
Explain why the mistake happened – giving honest and sincere reasons – and own up to it. Don't try to pawn it off on someone else. Dictate your plan to make up for the mistake giving clear cut directions as to what needs to be done to not only correct the problem, but also to prevent it from happening in the future.
Make sure that you are conveying emotions when you apologize in business, making sure that the apology is heartfelt. Apologies will only work if they are sincere and honestly in nature. To read more about building strong sales relationships.
Showing vulnerability should not always be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
Be true to yourself, be sincere and be honest in your sales career – and that reputation will follow you throughout your career successes.