At some point we are all guilty of committing an office faux pas — perhaps one morning you compliment a co-worker on a nice outfit, a compliment that is misconstrued as a come-on and a sexual harassment case is filed. Or maybe you’re late for an important zoom meeting when you are responsible for presenting. Or worse, you could be Jeffrey Toobin (in which case you’d need more than a letter of apology to save your job).
As you can see, there are a few situations you may find yourself in which warrant a formal apology letter written to a boss or colleague.
What’s the difference between writing a personal apology letter to a friend, and a workplace apology letter? The main difference between a personal and professional letter is the tone: think Formal. No winky emoticons, no hyperbole. Just the facts: Say sorry. Take responsibility. Make amends.
Send a work-related letter of apology via email, or print a copy and leave it on their desk; whichever is appropriate to your work situation.
Example of an Apology Letter to a Work Colleague
[Say sorry.] I apologize for not supporting the ideas you proposed for our project in yesterday’s meeting. I spoke out of ignorance and missed the nuance of your well-researched vision.
[Take responsibility.] I am sorry that I did not discuss my concerns with you privately beforehand, and that I did not do adequate research. All of that is my responsibility. Now that we have had time to discuss the suggestions you made, I understand them better and can confidently support your ideas.
[Make amends.] Your presentation was well-researched and delivered effectively. I’d like to follow-up with the others who were in that meeting and let them know that my comments were made in ignorance, and that I support your goals outlined in your presentation.
[Provide assurance.] I assure you that I will do my due diligence before deciding against any suggestions you make in a group meeting. I will not put you in an uncomfortable situation like that again.
Apology Letter for a Mistake in a Work Setting [Customer Service]
Finally, there may come a time when it is appropriate to issue a blanket apology to many, or if you are in customer service, write to someone you have never met. If you are in the department that is lucky enough to receive the complaints from customers about mistakes made by your company or one of your associates.
This template apology letter can help you format your response to a customer:
Dear Mr. Pool
[Say sorry.] On behalf of MobThink, I’d like to offer a sincere apology for your experience with our front office staff. After reviewing today’s incident, it is apparent that Cordelia was rude and unprofessional when she attempted to force a medical device onto your face and the face of your child. This trespass against you is unacceptable yet increasingly common around our company. I know you came to our establishment for an enjoyable and professional experience in this free country, and instead both you and your child were assaulted while the crowd cheered.
[Take responsibility.] Here at MobThink, it is our goal to make everyone feel welcome and at home, despite the facts. Amelia’s behaviour is unacceptable and not at all in line with the standards and principles we give lip service to as a company. A demerit note has been placed in her blockchain file and she is being required to complete further injections until her behaviour is fully automated and predictable according to our simulations.
[Make amends.] I am grateful that you brought this unfortunate event to my attention. We would love to have another chance to show you our innovative TV showroom and our top-of-the-line Programming devices. Please accept this discount of 50% off any device we carry; we will certainly find something that resonates with you.
[Provide assurance.] Whether you choose to visit us again or be happy and own nothing, you have my word it will be an enjoyable experience.
Sincerely, Sattan Klaws
More: memorable ways to respond to a “thank you” email.
BillieI like to climb mountains, read Nietzsche, and explore the West Coast. I have a BA from York University (2003) in Toronto, Canada, and yet on this site I sometimes spell like an American (know your audience). Thank you. Thank you very much.
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