What if an apology was all it took?
For every bullying complaint made, for every inappropriate behaviour, for every incident where someone was made to feel undervalued; a simple ‘I’m sorry’ might be all it takes to nip things in the bud.
An authentic apology is an incredibly strong motivator for someone who is considering litigious action to rethink their direction. Evidence suggests most people who have taken legal action would have not done so if someone had simply acknowledged them and their experience and apologised.
An authentic apology will always provide you with an opportunity to have an open and meaningful conversation. And that may very well be the turning point, psychologically or emotionally, that goes on to prevent serious ongoing mental health issues.
An authentic apology may feel like an admission of wrongdoing and bring with it the fear of paving the way for litigation, but the truth is, it is more likely to reduce your time spent in legal disputes.
It doesn't need to be complicated. It doesn't need to be in writing. It doesn't even need to be done publicly. What it does need to be is genuine and purposeful. State what it is you are sorry for and then back it up with words that show you won't allow this to continue or reoccur. Something like "I'm sorry for XXX, and it won't happen again. I have made changes to XXX to ensure this is not repeated".
Your employees are people who made a choice, a conscious decision, to be part of your workplace. They make a decision to bring themselves to work each day. Respect them enough to say sorry when you need to and show them by your actions that you mean it.
If you want to know more about this and all the other solutions we offer in the HARM Model, reach out today and book yourself some time with me for a discussion about how we can best guide your managers and leaders to be better equipped to deal with bullying and harmful workplace behaviours.