Apologizing is good, but it can backfire on you when it comes to your career. You don’t want to get into the bad habit of over-apologizing and looking like a sniveling fool who would lose his head if it wasn’t attached to his body. Sure, you need to take responsibility for your actions and apologize if you do something wrong. However, you run the risk of making yourself look weaker than you are. You don’t want to diminish your professional stature in the eyes of your colleagues and those in management. When you apologize too much, you start to think lesser of yourself. That minimizes your chances of taking risks and your career success can then go down the tubes. You may be apologizing too much and not even realizing that you’re actually hurting your career.
1. Makes You Look Weaker Than You Are
Apologies make you look weak. That’s because you become vulnerable as you’re admitting your mistakes and apologizing. Such behavior is refreshing to your soul and mental health and well-being. However, you need to consider how apologizing can be hurting your career by making you look weaker than you are. No one is advocating that you should shirk responsibility and lie when you make a mistake. That’s the coward’s way out and will also make you look weak—especially if your boss finds out after the fact that you were the one who made the major error.
Looking weak is never going to advance your career. Not only will people start looking at you with disdain, they’ll begin to walk all over you. You’ll become the office doormat. Don’t be surprised if your constant apologizing has started to get you blamed for other people’s mistakes as well. Everyone knows you are weak and your actions have shown that. They know that you can become the scapegoat for whatever goes wrong in the office. You’re too weak and simpering to stand up for yourself. Ok, so when you do need to apologize, you must do it with confidence. Don’t walk up to your colleague with downturned face and shaking in your boots while you apologize for not completing your part of the project on time.
Sure, you made a mistake, but you need to own it with confidence. Starting to cry or continually averting your eyes will only make you appear weak and like a non-essential part of the workplace. You need to approach this colleague with a confidence that you may not have. State what you did. Say that you regret your irresponsibility and that it won’t happen again. Just don’t start repeating over and over again that you’re sorry and don’t know what happened and you feel horrible. All those things may be true. However, they also make you appear weak and insignificant. That negatively affects your career advancement potential.
2. Diminishes Your Professional Stature
The last thing you need is to be known in the office as the sniveling fool, blubbering apologies all day long, even for things that you didn’t do wrong. Such foolish behavior will diminish your professional stature in the workplace. Rather, you want to be known as the consummate professional who is able to admit when he’s wrong, but doesn’t fall apart during the process.
When your boss calls you in to his office to discuss the fact that you didn’t get the promotion and it was awarded to another colleague, that’s not the time to slouch your shoulders, take on the air of defeat and begin apologizing for not being good enough. You don’t want to start listing all of your faults and agreeing with your boss that he made the right decision because you truly weren’t right for the promotion. That type of apologetic behavior is not going to get you anywhere you actually want to go in your career.
Besides giving your boss a migraine as his head starts drooping to lay down on his desk, hoping you’ll leave the room—you’ll have diminished your own professional stature in his eyes. He may have thought you were professional, but needed some work and that the promotion was a better fit for your colleague. However, after your apology monologue, you’ve completely changed his perception of you in a matter of minutes. Now, he’ll think you need a complete overhaul and won’t ever be ready for a promotion, at least not for a few years to come. Don’t become your own worst enemy and diminish your professional stature by apologizing.
3. Lowers Your Capacity to Take Risks
You may not realize it, but apologizing too much is going to lower your capacity to take risks. If you want to advance your career, you need to be a risk taker. Ok, so you can’t rock the boat too much and risk telling your boss you think he’s a loser and still expect to get promoted, but you get the idea. The ones who get promoted and soar to greater heights in their careers are the people who have embraced the risk taking process.
So, when you’ve become a chronic apologizer—who thinks he never does anything right and is always wrong—you’re doing damage to your mental outlook whether you realize it or not. It’s one thing to apologize for nearly setting the building on fire by taking an illegal smoke break in the bathroom and throwing your still-lit cigarette into the full waste basket. However, it’s completely demotivating to start apologizing for everything about you as if you’re the biggest loser in the world- when you’re really not. You’re only doing a disservice to yourself by apologizing for your lack of skills, negative comments, and little mistakes that no one even knows about. No one is saying that you should go through life believing you’re perfect and never apologizing for anything.
However, you’ll never be able to take any risks if you start believing the lies of your apologies. Let’s be clear. When you need to apologize for a wrongdoing, you should. However, the lies are when you are apologizing for being an idiot for making the same mistakes all the time while working. Sure, you’re wrong, but constantly apologizing for making the same mistakes and “being an idiot” is not making the situation better. You’ve set yourself up for failure and are continuing to make the same mistakes. Stop apologizing in those instances and start owning your behavior. Recognize that you can change, but only if you risk stepping outside your comfort zone to analyze your failure and figure out a way to make changes.
Have you been apologizing too much? You might want to rethink your strategy when it comes to taking personal responsibility and how apologizing too much can negatively affect your career.
Crying like a little girl because you messed up at work and need to apologize to everyone in the office is going to make you look weak. That won’t get you a promotion. Your boss won’t look at you like you’re behaving in a professional manner. He’ll probably want to run and hide in his office, locking his door so you won’t come in and apologize one hundred times to him! You can’t stop taking risks. If you apologize too much, you’ll become a wimp, not a warrior. Own your apologies and stop telling yourself lies that make you destructive, rather than a positive risk taker.