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职场上该如何道歉?

2014-08-21    来源:向Anne提问    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

向上司、同事或客户说对不起,可能会面临棘手的办公室政治问题,甚至面临法律风险。但有时候,你不得不这么做。

Dear Annie:I have a weird problem that I hope you can help me with. A couple of weeks ago, my team was in a big meeting with another team, our boss, his boss, and a very senior person both managers report to. At one point, my boss was presenting the results of a research project I had worked on, and he got a couple of key figures wrong. The numbers came from an earlier version of the report that we had since revised, so I spoke up and corrected him.
亲爱的安妮:我有一个奇怪的问题,希望您能帮助我。几周前,我的团队与另外一只团队召开了一次大规模会议,我们的上司,他的顶头上司,以及一位公司高层,都出席了会议。我的上司在介绍由我负责的一个研究项目的结果时,几个关键数据出现了错误。这些数据来自报告较早的版本,我们早已对其进行了修改,于是我站起来纠正了这些错误。

I really like and respect my boss, and the last thing I intended was to embarrass him or make him look bad. I just spoke without thinking. But now he’s freezing me out and won’t even look at me. I would like to crawl under my desk and stay there, possibly forever. Is it too late to apologize? What would you say to him if you were me? —Foot Stuck in Mouth
我真的很喜欢和尊重我的上司,我从没想过要令他尴尬或让他出丑。我只是下意识说了那些话。但现在,他开始排挤我,甚至都不看我一眼。我真希望爬到桌子底下,永远也别出来。现在道歉是否为时已晚?如果您是我,您会对他说些什么?——F.S.M.

Dear F.S.M.: Eek. It’s certainly not too late to say you’re sorry. In fact, at this point, says Lauren M. Bloom, author of Art of the Apology: How, When, and Why to Give and Accept Apologies, “Since your boss is obviously still upset with you, not apologizing is not an option.”
亲爱的F.S.M.:现在道歉当然不算晚。实际上,《道歉的艺术》(Art of the Apology: How, When, and Why to Give and Accept Apologies)一书的作者劳伦•M•布鲁姆认为:“很明显,你的老板仍在生你的气,所以,应该道歉,这没得选。”

But be careful how you go about it. “Apologizing at the office is not the same as in real life,” Bloom says. Depending on the circumstances, “there’s office politics to think about and, in certain situations, admitting fault can get you fired.” An attorney by training, she adds that “as a rule, in any instance where you’ve made a mistake and there is even the possibility of a lawsuit over it, speak with someone in the legal department before you admit any wrongdoing.”
但在道歉的时候也要谨慎。布鲁姆说道:“在办公室道歉,与在现实生活中道歉有所区别。在办公室要考虑办公室政治,在某些情况下,承认错误反而会令你丢掉饭碗。”作为一名接受过培训的律师,她补充道:“一般而言,如果你犯的错误可能引发法律诉讼,在承认错误之前,应该先咨询一下法务部门的同事。”

While researching her book, Bloom came across people who made matters worse by giving “I’m sorry” gifts inappropriate for the workplace, like one well-meaning boss who gave his assistant a bouquet of flowers. The admin “saw that as both sexist and too personal a gesture,” Bloom observes. “The wrong kind of apology can be more offensive than the original mistake.”
为她的书做调查时,布鲁姆发现,许多人犯了错误后,赠送并不适合工作场所的“道歉”礼物,例如一位好心的上司送给助理一束鲜花,但行政部门认为“这是性别歧视,而且是太私人化的情感表示。这种错误的道歉方式可能比原先的错误更令人反感。”

So, what should you say to your frosty boss? By Bloom’s lights, every effective mea culpa has six essential features. The first one is sincerity, which your question suggests you’ve got covered. Most people can spot a phony apology from a mile away, so “you have to genuinely regret what you did, and say it unequivocally,” says Bloom. “Start with ‘I am sorry.’”
那么,你该对冷漠的上司说些什么?在布鲁姆看来,每一次有效的道歉都有六个基本特点。首先是真诚,从你的提问来看,这一点你已经具备。大多数人从一英里外就能看出虚情假意的道歉,所以“你必须对自己做过的事情真心感到后悔,并且要毫不含糊地说出来,”布鲁姆说道,“从‘对不起’开始。”

Second, briefly explain precisely what you believe you did wrong, in this case correcting the boss in the presence of higher-ups. Acknowledge that you embarrassed him by speaking up and you feel rotten about it and, in the next breath, move on to Step Three: Suggest a solution for the next time this situation comes along (if it ever does), and propose a way to make amends.
其次,简明扼要地解释一下你认为自己做错了什么事情,你的错误就是在高层在场的情况下纠正了上司的错误。承认你直言相告的举动令他很难堪,而这件事也让你非常难受,同时转移到第三步:建议下一次面临这种情况(如果还会再出现的话)时的解决方案,并提出弥补过失的方式。

“It probably would have been better to discreetly hand him a note under the table so he could correct his own mistake,” Bloom says. “You could mention that as a solution for next time.”
布鲁姆说道:“如果在桌子下面小心翼翼地递给他一张纸条,让他能够纠正自己的错误,肯定会更好。你可以把它作为下一次面临同样情况时的解决方案。”

Making amends may be tougher and require that you swallow a few bites of humble pie. You might, for example, ask your boss whether it would help if you met with the senior manager who was at the meeting to explain the mix-up with the numbers, so “your boss doesn’t seem so clueless to his boss,” says Bloom. “Be open to any other idea he might have for repairing the damage.”
弥补过失可能更加困难,因为这需要你低声下气,忍辱含垢。例如,你可以询问上司,如果你去见一下当时出席会议的高层,向他解释一下数字上出现混乱的原因,是否会有帮助。这样一来,“你的上司在他的上司眼中便不会显得如此愚蠢。如果他提出其他弥补损失的主意,也要甘心接受,”布鲁姆说道。

The fourth step: If your boss wants to vent, just listen. No matter what he says or how he says it, don’t interrupt or try to defend your actions. Giving the other party a chance to tell you how badly you screwed up, and how angry (or hurt, or disappointed) they are “is often the hardest part” of any apology, “but the person you’ve wronged won’t feel they’ve been heard unless you do it,” Bloom says.
第四步:如果你的上司想要发泄,只要听着即可。不论他说什么或用什么方式说,不要打断他或试图为自己的行为辩护。给对方机会告诉你,你造成的麻烦有多严重,以及他有多生气(伤心或失望),通常是道歉中“最困难的部分,但如果不这么做,对方就不会感觉到自己的情绪有人倾听。”

Then, take a deep breath and, since this is someone who could probably fire or demote you if he wanted to, move on to Step Five: “Thank him for giving you another chance.”
然后,做一下深呼吸,因为你面对的是一位只要他愿意,就可以你解雇或降职的上司,所以要继续第五个步骤:“感谢您又给了我一次机会。”

The sixth and last step is pretty simple: Don’t ever do the same thing again. Says Bloom, “The people who end up with pink slips are those who don’t learn from their mistakes.”
第六个步骤非常简单:永远不要做同样的事情。布鲁姆说道:“最后被解雇的那些人,都是因为没有从错误中汲取教训。”

You don’t say whether you normally have a chummy rapport with your boss but if so, a word of caution. “In lots of organizations, the hierarchy is invisible day to day, so everyone seems to be more or less equal,” says Bloom. “But even in a very collegial culture, where coworkers are friendly and casual, never apologize too casually to someone who outranks you. As soon as you’re in the wrong, the hierarchy snaps back into place. Respect it.”
你没有说正常情况下,与上司的关系是否密切,但如果是这样的话,还要再提醒你一句。布鲁姆说道:“在许多公司中,等级逐渐变成了无形的存在,所有人似乎都或多或少实现了平等。但即便在学院气息浓厚的文化中,尽管同事之间友好随和,但在向地位高于你的人道歉时,也不能太过随意。只要你犯了错,等级便会立刻显露出其本来的面目。你必须尊重等级的存在。”

Likewise, she adds, “Never make a joke as part of an apology. Humor is great for relieving tension, but it makes it hard for people to tell how sincere you really are.”
同样,她说道:“道歉的时候不要开玩笑。幽默对于舒缓紧张很有帮助,但这会让对方很难判断你的歉意是否真诚。”

And, hey, try not to beat yourself up. Nobody’s perfect, and “everybody has an apology story, if they’re willing to tell it,” Bloom notes—including the occasional CEO. Once you’ve expressed your regret, put it behind you and move on. With any luck, your boss will, too. Eventually.
当然,不要因此自责不已。布鲁姆说道,人无完人,“每个人都曾经历过道歉,只是没有人愿意说出来而已,”CEO有时也难免。只要你向对方表达了自己的后悔,便应该把此事抛在脑后,继续前行。运气好的话,你的上司也会这么做的。事情终会过去。

Talkback:Have you ever had to apologize to a boss or coworker, or vice versa? How did it turn out? Leave a comment below.
反馈:你是否曾不得不向上司或同事道歉,或曾接受过别人的道歉?最后结果如何?欢迎评论。(向Anne提问)



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