He always know when he’s in trouble though, because he walks right up to me, gives me a big hug, and says “I’m sorry, Dodo”, before he proceeds to tell me in great detail exactly what he’s done wrong. Now, I do try to be the disciplinarian in the house, and I am tough when I have to be, but I confess every time he pulls the I’m sorry” trick, it works and I end up a mushy wreck instead of a stoic Dad.
There’s just something about a sincere apology that immediately tugs at the heartstrings and makes you want to make love and not war. For influencing people, I can’t imagine a stronger tool. I use it quite regularly, and I don’t discriminate with it. I’d apologise to a junior at work just as quickly as I’d apologise to my CEO. Also, and even more importantly, I don’t only apologise when I’m in the wrong. In fact, I mostly do it when I know I’m right, but would rather have my way than prove my point. It costs nothing to say I’m sorry, but it nurses egos, mends hurt feelings and saves relationships.
One thing I have observed in our part of the world however, is that apologies only flow in one direction: upwards. Adults don’t apologise to children. Teachers don’t apologise to students. Doctors don’t apologise to patients, pastors don’t apologise to congregations, and politicians certainly never stoop so low as to apologise to their constituents.
Recently, Prof. Alex Dodoo was hauled to Parliament’s Privileges Committee. He ended up apologising for allegedly asking parliament to shut up. I’m still yet to hear an apology from members of parliament for bandying about false facts concerning the clinical trials for Ebola vaccines, in a manner that caused unnecessary fear and panic among those who voted for them – that’s you and I, in case it slipped your mind. It would appear that nobody looks upon THEIR actions as contemptuous.
My friends, today, I want to keep things simple. A well meant apology will help you build good relationships and get what you want. Don’t do it because you’re wrong, do it because your ego is strong enough to take a hit for the relationship to grow.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I’d rather be wrong and keep a friend, than be right and create an enemy.