Special Post – We Lead : Apologizing (Part 2)

**At Providence, I’m on a team of people who are trying to instill newly formed Team Norms into the culture at the Digital Innovation Group (DIG). One of our Team Norms is around leadership, so in the month of October we decided to focus on this norm. As a part of that focus, I’ve been writing weekly emails to the team exploring brief ideas about leadership. What is shared here is the content I’ve provided to the team…though shortened or edited when necessary.**

We Lead—We empower one another to take initiative and remove roadblocks. We expect it.

Once upon a time…

I have a “friend” and this week she was asked by a colleague why she approached a public conversation in a way that blindsided the other person. My friend’s first inclination was to defend her position…but since she is trying hard to really live the DIG Norms, she heard herself ask “Tell me what upset you about what I said?”

Let’s be honest…in the moment my friend knew that she might not like the answer. She knew that it was going to hurt a little. She also knew that she needed to listen and not start planning her next comment.

Her colleague replied, “Well…I felt thrown under the bus by your comment. I didn’t know about the thing you mentioned and I was disappointed because I believe we usually communicate better.”

My friend knew that her colleague was right. She knew she’d reacted from frustration. And she knew that the only thing to do was apologize.

In this 2006 Harvard Business Review article, Barbara Kellerman states that leaders should apologize:
(1) when doing so is likely to serve and important purpose

(2) when the offense is a serious consequence
(3) when it’s appropriate that the leader assume responsibility for the offense
(4) when no one else can get the job done
(5) when the cost of saying something is likely lower than the cost of staying silent

An apology can be a way to take initiative and remove a roadblock…relational or otherwise. As DIG continues to build leadership muscle, it’s critical that we remember to listen, own our mistakes, and then speak healings words into the situation!!



As we continue to focus on leadership, please pay attention to your colleagues to see when they demonstrate the WE LEAD team norm. When they do…and they will…please put a “shout out” to their leadership on the Team Norms Board. (The board can be found on the wall facing the JITs and the Telehealth Lab between where the Nassau and Telehealth Teams.) I can’t wait to share some of these in next week’s Leadership Newsletter!

As you move into the weekend, please remember these beautiful words by John Wesley:

Do all the good you can.

By all the means you can.

In all the ways you can.

In all the places you can.

At all the times you can.

To all the people you can.

As long as ever you can.

Happy Leading! Happy Friday!

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