Perhaps this happened to you. You’re enjoying a typical day on the job when suddenly things take a turn for the worst. Tempers flare, words are exchanged and regret sets in. You had a bad conversation, maybe even a fight, with your boss. Thankfully, these regrettable conversations are not always a deal breaker. You may be given the opportunity to redeem yourself, move forward and continue to wow your employer. The trick is how do you begin the recovery process?
During any argument it’s natural to turn on our defenses, however, entering a resolution while feeling defensive is rarely productive. Take time to cool down and collect your emotions and thoughts. For each individual this time is different; whether you need five minutes or an afternoon, take the time you feel is appropriate and necessary.
Admitting fault is never fun. If after taking some time to cool down you realize you were in the wrong (yes, you actually did snap at that customer), approach your boss with humility and a resolution. But, apologizing is simply not enough. Be able to tell your boss why what you did was wrong and how you plan on avoiding similar situations in the future. Show initiative in taking steps toward a better you. Admitting fault when you still believe you were in the right is especially difficult, but it is vital in moving forward. When you’re having trouble finding fault in yourself, apologize for the way you reacted. Most of us say or do things we regret in the heat of the moment, so, if nothing else, apologize to your boss for your “momentary lack of professionalism.” Acknowledging that you were wrong, in at least some way, will show your employer you are taking some of the responsibility.
Unfortunately, many of us like to bring up situations that should be left alone. After apologizing, don’t continue bringing up the argument. Making light of the situation may seem like an easy way to get over the awkwardness, but keep in mind, each time the conversation is brought up, your teammates are reminded of your moment of weakness. If coworkers, or even your boss, continuously bring up your meltdown, simply remind them the situation has been addressed and you are taking the necessary steps to move forward. In this case, the less ammunition you give your peers, the better.
Arguing with an employer is undoubtedly awkward and even scary. The true test will be your ability to recover from the situation professionally. Showing the maturity to move forward will prove your ability to conduct business respectfully and graciously.