Workplace Apologies and How to Make One

September 17, 2015

Career Advice

2892334586_6ef9fcbb51_zYou open your inbox, stare at the FROM section, and your heart sinks. It’s really the last thing you wanted to read by e-mail, but when you click through you’re pleasantly surprised. Your co-worker wrote an e-mail apology to you because of a mistake on last week’s staff report. It wasn’t a huge error, but it was a bit embarrassing that you were standing in front of the entire office and quoting mistaken figures. Whatever bit of annoyance you had encountered slips away after you’ve read his email.

Apologizing by e-mail can seem awkward and possibly disingenuous since it’s not in person. However, the likelihood of two people’s schedules allowing them to meet has become more than difficult, and everyone knows that texting is definitely a “no-no” for an apology.

So how do you tackle writing that awkward, uncomfortable e-mail that makes you squirm in your seat? Wendy Johnson of Kapow! Content shares her tips over at The Brazen Careerist on how to write a genuine e-mail apology. She also offers up a great e-mail apology example that everyone should keep a copy to refer to in the future.

Here is a summary of our favorite points from her article about how to write a great apology email:

  • get straight to the facts (apologize!)
  • tell them why you’re apologizing
  • don’t insinuate an apology or use phrases like “I’m sorry IF I offended you” or “I’m sorry IF I said something you took the wrong way…
  • Try not to over apologize. That can come off as sarcastic.
  • Communicate how you plan to rectify such situations in the future so as not to make the same mistake again.
  • Close the e-mail in a positive way. Or in a way that shows you are extending an olive branch.

Read more about this subject in How to Apologize By Email: 5 Steps to Help Fix Your Big Mistake.

Image via Clyde Robinson/Flickr.


About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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