What People Teach Us: In Trump’s Tangled Mess, There Is No Apology Needed.
Leadership Lesson: Merely demanding an apology from someone, in response to an offensive action, with no other discussion or connection, doesn’t really achieve as much as one would think.
There should be no apology sought of Trump for what he has said about Muslims, among other indiscretions he’s been guilty of during his Presidential nomination campaign.
This does not mean what he said is right or not reprehensible.
Society needs to be cognizant about how often it seeks, and pushes for, apologies.
These apology situations are reminiscent of a growing movement of detractors against the culture that they perceive as an Everyone-Gets-A-Trophy society. The common argument against that perceived society is that not all deserve a trophy, and that the award is some kind of ill-gotten validation to make the recipient feel whole.
The concern regarding the apology society is similar in that it seems that those seeking apologies are waiting for it in order to be made whole.
So we have to be careful how we seek to be made whole in such examples — by an apology in one scenario or seemingly seeking validation in the other — or we risk forgoing being able to proceed and achieve our true greatness.
Spending too much time seeking that apology stifles one’s energy for one’s own cause, even if if might be for perception purposes to stakeholders on the periphery.
One’s actions should suffice to demonstrate their strategy, efficacy, and intention more than outside validation. Assuming you’re being strategic and calculated, don’t wait to be validated by inclusion or apologies in order to proceed with the greatness in your own mission, purpose, and objectives. Use the energy you would use to charge back against the other side for an apology to instead open up a conversation and charge forward.
Your actions going forward will extinguish the offense perpetrated by the other side and are the driver of your message.
Your message should create an ongoing culture where the offender cannot thrive with their inexcusable actions against your voice.
Your voice for progress sets the tone for all in your environment and culture — those whom you need and want to believe in your message.
Your tone influences those stakeholders around you.
Influence is greater than demands. Do not demand action of those against you. Instead, influence action of those who believe in, and would benefit from, your cause.
Going forward we have to learn that should someone offend us, we should (1) acknowledge it, (2) make it known respectfully, (3) outline why it’s wrong, but now (4) move along as we were — growing, improving, and evolving.
Forcing someone to apologize only (a) takes energy away from other positive endeavors and (b) possibly forces an apology that is not genuine whatsoever.
In certain types of situations, more energy, of course, might be called for due to the role of the possible apologist in your organization, operation, or company. But far too often, we spend too much time seeking what could be viewed as validation and redemption when we should be working toward making better what those perpetrators, whose true colors we now see, had railed against.
As with other advice, this should be weighed from situation-to-situation to determine the complexity of that person’s role in your endeavors.
Again, this is not to say the offender has gotten off scot-free. You’ve respectfully pointed out the “infraction” and conveyed what was wrong with it.
In general, when reasonable, don’t get worked up, reacting with emotion and heightening the tension. Just make note of what the person did and why it’s not cool. But being offended, and reacting as such, just escalates everything.
Here’s a great example of overcoming the impulse to react with emotion.
Again, this is not to say that you cannot call someone out for something that is blatantly counterproductive.
The end goal here is to make sure it is noted — again, respectfully and in a civil manner — but to make sure that one stays the course.
So…What About You?
- In your life, how and when have you requested apologies of others?
- What was the relationship like afterward?
- If you accept the apology, how do you hold the apologist accountable for keeping his or her word?