Lesson 002: Management offering apology
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 4/15 ('First Contact')


The crew of the Enterprise makes first contact with a planet that has entered into the space flight stage of their evolution. Despite the advances in technology, the inhabitants of the planet remain in the Ptolemaic geocentric view of the universe and in denial of even the possibility of life existing outside of their own planet.

Per Federation rules, an undercover Federation person (Riker) had been placed on the planet to observe the inhabitants. Due to a mishap involving Riker, Capt. Picard is forced to make the First Contact prematurely to save Riker's life on the planet.

In greeting the leader of the planet, Capt. Picard is accompanied by a local scientist from the planet, who advises Capt. Picard to not mention Riker's undercover presence on the planet, as it will be deemed a hostile action by the local inhabitants.

Through a series of events, the planet's leader discovers Riker's presence and activities and questions Capt. Picard's credibility and honesty for not having disclosed Riker's presence on the planet.

Instead of blaming the scientist, Capt. Picard immediately offers an apology and accepts the error in omission was his and not that of the scientist.


The lesson here is one of when to offer an apology.

You will find there are many managers who are dogmatic in their notion that you should never apologize as it shows weakness on your part. It is very often true that these managers are also the same individuals who will whimper out apologies once confronted by their upper management or when faced with losing a client due to their wrong-doing.

It is never wrong to offer apologies when you know you are in the wrong. It quickly diffuses potentially eruptive situations; it also shows the recipient your candor in wanting an honest association and your humility and confidence in yourself.

On the other hand, apologizing just for the sake of apologizing, especially when you are not sure that you are the one in error can prove detrimental.

Worst of all, be leery of anyone who uses the phrase 'I regretů' This is never an apology. It is always an arrogant response from someone who is not at all sorry, but is being forced to express an apology by external forces. People in politics are notoriously culpable of this conduct.

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