Here's the perfect way to apologise the next time you're late

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As it turns out, becoming a leader in the workplace isn’t simply a matter of getting a promotion. “It’s achieved through the way you handle mundane, everyday interactions at work,” explains psychologist Ron Friedman.

Last year, Friedman, the founder of Ignite80 and author of “The Best Place to Work,” organised an online summit on peak work performance, featuring his discussions with 26 of the world’s top productivity experts, including Daniel Pink, Gretchen Rubin, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Peter Bregman.

During his conversation with Bregman, a CEO and author of “Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Stop Counter-Productive Habits and Get the Results You Want,” they talked about how the best leaders handle certain everyday situations.

“A great [example] is when you’re late and someone’s upset that you’re late,” Bregman tells Friedman. “Most people will apologise and offer an excuse. I’m sorry I’m late. This this meeting ran over,’ or ‘I’m sorry I’m late, I really couldn’t leave that client meeting.'”

What you’re basically conveying in that moment is intention: “I’m sorry I was late, I didn’t intend to be late,” he explains. “But the person who’s been waiting for you for twenty minutes isn’t experiencing your intention. They’re experiencing the impact of the result.”

That’s why great leaders say something more effective, like: “Thank you for your flexibility.”

“‘Sorry for keeping you waiting’ is an apology to the impact versus, ‘Sorry I was held up; the train was late. I couldn’t help it,’ which is being sorry about the intention,” Bregman says. “It’s a subtle difference, but it makes all the difference for the person who’s sitting there.

“A behaviour to replace excusing is to describe your impact — to acknowledge the impact you’ve had on the other person,” he concludes.

To watch The Peak Work Performance Summit, click here.

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