Will I lose control if I apologise?

Will I lose control if I apologise?

Dear Auntie, 

It has been a hard six months for our business which took us by surprise. Sales are down 25% year-on-year and we can’t see things improving this side of Christmas.

Anyway, I explain this to show you that we are stressed.

So a few weeks ago I accused one of my staff of ripping off a customer. I wanted to make the point that even if things are tough I won’t tolerate that behavior.

Now I know she was told to do it by her superior. And now she is moping around which is driving me mad because I need everyone at 100%. I don’t want to apologise because that would send the wrong message. But someone told me she expects that.


Dear Vic in Vic,

You know it always surprises me that people see an apology as akin to losing control. It is not! It is an apology!

You have a staff member who chooses to work for you every day. She obviously cares a lot or she would not be moping.

Here is what you should do. Take her out for a coffee and tell her you have all the facts. Explain how important your values are but tell her she is too. Tell her you may well have dealt with her differently although the message is still the same. That behaviour is not on.

Ask her to put it behind her and then discuss some new project. People like to see their boss is human and heaven knows we are!!

Be smart,
Aunty B


Aunty B is currently on holidays sailing the South Pacific and sipping piña coladas, but she will be back soon with fresh advice for your business.


To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

Email your questions, problems and issues to  auntyb@smartcompany.com.au right now!

This article first appeared on May 20, 2011.



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