Do Apologies Improve Performance?

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apologies improve performance

Do Apologies Improve Performance?

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Apologies are important but they shouldn’t be a crutch. Do you have to apologize often? Do you believe apologies improve performance, or the perception of performance?

Excuses and Dropped Balls

In business or our workplace relationships, we often hear excuses for poor performance or dropped balls.

I forgot about that, I’ll do it right away. 

Sorry I missed you on the email distribution I must have been very busy when I sent it.

If I don’t call you back please reach out again. I’m really terrible about getting back to people.

Certainly, everyone has a slip up here or there, unfortunately sometimes this procrastination and faulty service becomes a habit, a very bad habit.

Relationships Matter

In workplace relationships, internally with the team, or externally with customers and vendors we have an obligation to support others. Sometimes this obligation is contractual and sometimes it should just be a common courtesy.

Relationships matter appreciative strategies

Good habits are hard to form and bad habits are hard to break. When you chronically come up short and provide an excuse that seems to let you off the hook what will you do the next time?

The best indicator of future performance is often past performance. It is true in business agreements, professional relationships, and even with personal matters.

Do Apologies Improve Performance?

Not a chance, always consider that your future success will depend on your business relationships. Just because you’re friendly or have known someone for a long time doesn’t mean you have an excuse for poor performance in business matters.

When you’re really sorry and you care about your professional image you’ll accept that you came up short, apologize, and change your behavior for the future.

Apologies won’t improve your performance, but a commitment to shift to better habits will.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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Gil Longwell

January 12, 2018at 6:33 am

Taking a phrase from a rather raucous female blues band….”Fess up when you mess up.”

This is the first step in de-escalation of what could become a nasty exchange!

“Thank you for helping us find a better way to do business” will show forward looking commitment and a hind-sighted acknowledgement of your error.

    Dennis Gilbert

    January 14, 2018at 4:11 pm

    Agreed! There are many potentially negative consequences for non-disclosure. Such behaviors may even create unwanted role modeling and ethical challenges. I believe the best practice is to not make excuses.

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