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Your intentions are good, your heart is in the right place. You never meant to hurt someone. But let's face it, we are all going to goof sometime. You missed a deadline, you failed to follow through, you forgot your friend's birthday, you slipped and blurted out a secret. You told a little white lie just to spare someone's feelings, but you got caught. We will all at some point in our lives violate the hard earned trust of someone we care about. Hopefully, we've modeled understanding and forgiveness when that someone violated our trust.
Hopefully, they'll return the favor. But in our worst moments, we can follow these steps, recommended by Pat Gallagan, editor with American Society for Training and Development. Admit the breach. Apologize. Say what you will do to prevent future breaches. Take action to repair and act. Maybe your goof was criticizing a colleague's beloved project behind his back, when your colleague finds out and confronts you; admit the breach, you might oh, I blew it.
And apologize, keep it simple. I'm so sorry. Next, say what you will do to prevent future breaches and how you might repair the damage you've already done. Like this. In the future, if I have problems with your ideas, I'm coming straight to you. I'll go back to Miranda to tell her that she should form her own opinion rather than listening to me blab on like I did. Finally, take action. This last step is so important. We can't talk our way out of a situation that we've acted our way into.
Consult the action plan and see what next steps could help you rebuild trust where none exist today. Trust may be that magical elixir that makes all relationships work better, but it's a delicate and fragile compound. Treat it with the care it deserves.
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