Thoughts on Mediation and “On Apology”, Part IV

Tiger Woods’ recent mea culpa led to a number of comments and critiques. One of the most interesting analyses came in a New York Times article on Sunday, “I Apologize. No, Really, I’m Serious, I…” by Paul Vitello.  In it, he notes the work of  Dr. Aaron Lazare, the author of “On Apology”, which focuses on personal, not public apologies, but has some real wisdom to share for both types of apologies.

Mr. Vitello quotes Dr. Lazare on four basic points. The fourth, according to Dr. Lazare, is that you must ask the offended person what you need to do to make things right.  What might that mean in the context of the Connecticut mediation and consulting work that Dovetail Resolutions does?

Most important, in all of the mediation work Dovetail Resolutions does, it means what it says: asking.  Not telling.  The person you offended needs to make the suggestion of how you can make things right, not you.  In business mediation, it might mean, what can I do to fix this situation?  In mediation of a family wealth conflict, it might mean, what can I do to regain your trust? In elder mediation, it might mean, how can I show you that I mean to do better?

Posted in Basics of Mediation and Conflict, Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

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