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How to Ask Forgiveness from Your Boss and Co-Worker 

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Everyone commits mistakes, however, not everyone is willing to admit they did something wrong and apologize. Forgiveness in business is essential in keeping a harmonious working relationship among the organization members. But, to be able to receive compassion and forgiveness in the workplace, one must be willing to acknowledge his or her mistake and offer a sincere apology.

Why Should You Ask Forgiveness?

There are various reasons why you need to sincerely apologize when you’ve made a mistake or hurt someone unintentionally.

First, admitting you committed a mistake allows the other person to speak with you so he or she can deal with his or her emotions. When you offer an apology, you also accept the fact that you’ve shown an unacceptable behavior. This will give you an opportunity to discuss with the other person what is acceptable and what is not, helping you rebuild your relationship with that person and regain his or her trust.

Also, when you admit you’re at fault, you help the other person restore his or her dignity. This will prevent the other person from unjustly blaming himself or herself, paving the way for the healing process.

Lastly, when you apologize sincerely, you’re showing the other person that you’re responsible for your actions. This can help strengthen your reputation, self-respect, and self-confidence. This can likewise help redeem your integrity and credibility in the eyes of those around you. You’re also more likely to feel relieved and receive compassion and forgiveness in the workplace.

How to Ask Forgiveness Appropriately

Asking for forgiveness in the workplace is a delicate initiative. Finding the guts to offer an apology can be challenging especially when there are legal or PR consequences involved. But, you can always do something. Below are steps on how to ask for forgiveness appropriately:

• Be Sincere

It all starts with sincerity. If you want to know how to ask for forgiveness from your boss or co-worker, the first thing that you need to be is sincere. Your apology doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t come from the heart. People can actually sense an insincere apology, and it’s not only meaningless, it’s also disrespectful.

If you want to receive compassion and forgiveness in the workplace, you have to come from a sincere point. Otherwise, there’s no point in asking for forgiveness and compassion.

• Empathize with the Other Party

Try putting yourself in the shoes of the offended party. What do you want to see or hear if the tables have been turned? Try to evaluate the situation and really understand how you made them feel. Recognizing other people’s feelings can make your apology easier.

• Take Responsibility

This may be the hardest part, but owning your mistakes shows your sincerity. People usually skip this part when they offer an apology, but once you know how to take responsibility for the actions you’ve done, you demonstrate confidence and courage.

• Validate the Feelings of the Offended Person

People are emotional beings. Therefore, it is important to let the other person know that you acknowledge their feelings when you hurt them. It will go a long way in mending your relationship with them.

• Welcome the Awkwardness

Having to say you’re sorry can make you feel awkward. But, there’s no way you can avoid it. Sometimes, you may feel the urge to throw a joke to lighten up the moment but it typically goes bad. However, you can be upfront and admit that you’re feeling awkward and proceed with your apology. Candidness can help ease the tension a little.

If you want to know how to apologize to your co-worker without doing it personally, you can write a letter to ask for forgiveness. Just make sure you’re sincere with your written apology, too.

• Offer Conciliatory Solutions

An apology may not be enough for the aggrieved party, so try to offer solutions to make up for the pain you have caused. But, if you’re going to suggest solutions, try to be realistic. And only offer conciliatory gestures you know you can achieve. People are understanding in general but messing up twice can ruin the whole thing. Only promise things you know you can do.

• Learn from Your Mistakes

Committing mistakes is part of life. But, you can learn from your shortcomings and move forward. You can easily receive forgiveness in business if you show your boss or co-worker how sincere you are and how much you’ve learned from the situation.

• Move On

Nobody’s perfect, and everyone does or says something hurtful to other people. But, you cannot justify a hurtful act just because everyone commits mistakes. When you know you’ve hurt someone, be it unintentional or deliberate, offer a sincere apology and grow from it. The sincerest apology is still changed behavior. When people see you’ve learned from your mistakes and it made you a better person, you will find yourself feeling more relieved and happier, too.


Apologies can make you feel uncomfortable, but that is actually a good thing. It will remind you that you should be more considerate of other people’s feelings next time before saying or doing anything. Forgiveness in business doesn’t come easy. So, make sure you are sincere and you’ll try your best to make up for what you’ve done. And remember that in the end, apologies teach you to be bigger and better than you are.

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