Most people work under the assumption that doing business requires one to be “cut throat”, harsh or selfish. When we think of business, we don’t think of nice people doing great things. We think of competition, getting more customers, more profits and more growth; being honest just doesn’t fit into the category. Often honesty is considered a weakness or vulnerability in business. I once heard someone say the key to being a good business man: “never admit to anything”. Now what kind of way is that to do business?
I’ve learned the best way to diffuse a conflict is to apologize for the error; even if it wasn’t your fault directly. It’s simply not possible to remedy a problem if you fail to acknowledge it exists! Apologizing is not admitting you did anything wrong. Apologizing is saying you value your relationship with the customer more than your ego. Believe it or not, most people are actually open to forgiving if you simply acknowledge making a mistake, ask for their forgiveness and try to mend the fault.
Imagine how much time and money we would save if we just apologized for an error? Instead, most business people take it personal; as though a mistake is a personal defeat rather viewing a mistake as an opportunity to turn weaknesses into strengths. Honesty builds trust which creates a loyal relationship between you and your customer. Returning customers and client referrals are what keep a business afloat. In the midst of managing conflict, remember this: You are not just securing a relationship with one person, you are securing a relationship with them and the five other people they will potentially send your way depending on how you handle their problem.
Bottom line – people do business with those they can trust. If you can’t acknowledge your error, then consider the relationship broken. We can’t change the past, but what we can do is commit to being honest about it and move on.
“I don’t want you to be perfect, I want you to be honest.” – Mary V. Davids
Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter @MVDavids