There's been some discussion on Linkedin about this blog post of mine on the art of apologizing. Someone asked if there was an advantage to not apologizing, because it seems like so few people do anymore. I get that. I'm Southern, and many of us still rely heavily on decorum in our daily social and business transactions. So when people don't say, "Excuse me" or "Sorry", I do get a little pang. But...
The problem with over-apologizing
Even though it's important to extend your ownership when you screw up, I don't like the over-apologetic victim-y way a lot of people do it. It's not about falling all over yourself saying you're sorry or doing a lengthy postmortem to assign fault or blame. It's about acknowledging the error and putting forth a solution that gets the project (or whatever) back on the path.
Do you even need to say "sorry"?
I don't know if not apologizing is an advantage. (See this cautionary tale about how an apology can make things worse!) But I do think it's easier sometimes. There have been times that I've dropped the ball and have been embarrassed. So much so that I conned myself into believing that if I didn't say anything, maybe it would go away. As we all know, it rarely works out that way.
The curse of expectations
It also doesn't usually work to expect an apology. In business, I've tried hard to focus not on the etiquette (which is hard, being Southern!), but instead on the result I want. Sure, I'd like people to apologize, but what I'd like more is for them to get back to business. That's why the strategy above is more satisfying for me than keeping score. Because for me the real win comes from getting the task completed, not getting an apology.