The other day I lost it in a team meeting.
Really Lily, you?
I know. I’m not perfect.
We were reviewing a deliverable that I put together when one of my coworkers started saying that it wasn’t feasible along with some other comments on how I should have done my work. I was expecting feedback on the content but the way I did my work? Not so much.
I snapped, talked over them, and then sat in sullen silence for the rest of the meeting.
Over the next couple days, I replayed the meeting over and over in my head. I told myself I was in the right for preparing the deliverable. I did, after all, invite everyone to share their feedback. But the way the meeting went still left a bad taste in my mouth.
I decided I needed to write an apology. I wrote a couple different apologies only to leave them in the DRAFTS folder. I thought about how women are told we say, “I’m sorry” too much. Anthems of how we need to stand our ground and not take any BS at work played in my head. I thought, what kind of message am I sending if I say, “I’m sorry”?
In this instance, saying, “I’m sorry” was the right message. Apologizing for my behavior opened back up the door of communication. Sometimes it’s all too easy to go off on a coworker. Hurt feelings lead to resentment and shut down collaboration. That was not the message I wanted to send to the team or how I wanted to be perceived as a leader.
Apologizing for the right things doesn’t take away our power, it speaks to our integrity. And in integrity is strength.