I'm sorry, so sorry

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Agriculture producers don't get to hone their people skills that often because they are too busy working with plants and animals. This can make apologizing sometimes difficult and foreign.

Gregorio Billikopf, labor management farm advisor for the University of California, says producers first need to recognize their error before making things right.

“While never easy, it is even harder when such recognition requires a public acknowledgement — an apology — to those we have injured,” adds Billikopf. “It is not surprising that most of the apologies we hear are quasiapologies at best, if not outright justifications and blame misdirected at the injured parties. We often hear such false expressions of regret such as “If you’re hurt, I’m sorry!” “I’m sorry, already!” and “I am sorry, but ...”

When apologizing, Billikopf recommends being humble and including a sincere expression of regret, changed behavior and, when possible, restitution.

“Part of the process of acknowledging we need to make alterations is to announce the change in behavior — in the form of a goal — which will help us improve our interpersonal approach. For example, if we have been extremely critical in the past, we can let people we offended know that we will try to get rid of that bad habit,” he says.

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