Q: I mistakenly hit “reply all” on an email in which I made a remark about someone that I really wish I hadn’t. What steps would you suggest for me to repair the damage?
A: Do what’s right, and do it quickly. Go to your co-worker, hand him your business card on which you’ve boldly inscribed three As – AAA. First, humble yourself and admit that you acted badly. It was not intentional, but wrong. Then proceed with the three As.
Apologize. Don’t beat the incident or yourself to death. Just be sincere and straight-forward. “I’m truly sorry for my remark. It was wrong and I was dumb. Will you please forgive me?”
Ask. Inquire what you can do to make it right. You might already have a solution to recommend, but you really want to meet the need of the person you’ve wronged.
Amend. Promptly explain or retract your comment in a brief email to the earlier recipients, and commend your co-worker for graciously accepting your apology.
Jim Berlucchi is the executive director of the Spitzer Center, whose mission is to build cultures of evangelization (www.spitzercenter.org).