LANGUAGE OF CARING HABIT-BUILDERS. Module: The Blameless Apology STARTER SET , Language of Caring, LLC

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1 LANGUAGE OF CARING HABIT-BUILDERS Module: STARTER SET

2 PRACTICE #1: From Blaming to Blameless Change these blaming apologies to blameless apologies. Blaming Example: I m sorry you re hurting so badly. They should have repositioned you during the last shift. A. To child: I m sorry the shot hurt, but you have to be brave sometimes. B. I m sorry it took me so long to get you a blanket, but I have other patients to take care of. Blameless I m sorry you re hurting so badly. Let s see what we can do to make you more comfortable. C. I m sorry you had to wait, but Dr. Smith is always late. D. I m sorry I forgot to give you your results, but it s a zoo here. Instructions for Team

3 PRACTICE #1: From Blaming to Blameless Suggestions z Complete in pairs or groups of 3. z Invite a few examples from the group. Coach participants if their suggestions are not adequate blameless apologies. Don t let weak responses pass. Coach people to a 5. z Close with these message points: It s so important to show sincere regret, plain and simple, with an I m sorry statement. If you blame or somehow make someone else look bad in your statement, it detracts and makes it difficult for people to absorb your sincere regret. Instead, they hear the blaming as defensiveness on your part. You don t make yourself look better by making someone else look worse. If you blame the organization, people lose confidence in the organization (which includes you)! Sample Responses Blaming Example: I m sorry you re hurting so badly. They should have repositioned you during the last shift. A. To child: I m sorry the shot hurt, but you have to be brave sometimes. B. I m sorry it took me so long to get you a blanket, but I have other patients to take care of. Blameless I m sorry you re hurting so badly. Let s see what I can do to make you more comfortable. I m really sorry this shot hurt. You ve been very brave, and it s going to help you get well. I m sorry about the delay in getting you this blanket. I have it now, so let s get you warm. C. I m sorry you had to wait, but Dr. Smith is always late. I m sorry about the wait and the inconvenience for you. D. I m sorry I forgot to give you your results, but it s a zoo here. I m sorry you ve been waiting so long for your test results. I have them now. Let s take a look. Instructions for Leader

4 PRACTICE #2: OOPS! What s the problem? There s at least one problem with each of these apologies, making it a poor example of a Blameless Apology. What s the problem? Blaming Staff Response What s the problem with this? Example: A patient complains about the food. A. A coworker complains that Computer Services screwed up her computer when they installed software. B. A family member is upset that no one called to tell him that his father was out of surgery. C. A patient complains about pain even though he had pain medication an hour ago. D. A patient complains that Radiology was rough. I m sorry you don t like it, but you shouldn t expect us to be a 5-star restaurant. I m so sorry, but really, you shouldn t have had to call them for help with something so simple. I m sorry you weren t called. It s not MY job to make those calls, but I ll talk to the nurse who should have called you. I m sorry if you re still in pain. I m sorry you had a rough time with that procedure. You should have told THEM when you were there! It s judgmental and insults the patient. It does not communicate sincere regret that the patient doesn t care for the food. Instructions for Team

5 PRACTICE #2: OOPS! What s the Problem? Suggestions z Complete in groups of 3. z Invite responses for each situation from the whole group. Note that there might be more than one thing wrong with each response. z Close with the following message points: Offer a blameless apology that communicates caring. ybe specific about what you re sorry about. ydon t say but or give excuses. ydon t judge the person who is complaining or making a request. ydon t cast anyone else in a negative light. ydon t say if; it suggests that you don t believe what the person is saying. Simply say I m sorry with sincerity and state exactly what you re sorry about. Sample Responses Situation Staff Response What s the problem with this? A. A coworker complains that Computer Services screwed up her computer when they installed software. B. A family member is upset that no one called to tell him that his father was out of surgery. C. A patient complains about pain even though he had pain medication an hour ago. D. A patient complains that Radiology was rough. I m so sorry, but really, you shouldn t have had to call them for help with something so simple. I m sorry that you weren t called. It s not MY job to make those calls, but I ll talk to the nurse who should have called you. I m sorry if you re still in pain. I m sorry you had a rough time with that procedure. You should have told them. When you use the word but, the person hears that you are not really sorry at all and that you are making an excuse. Staff is escaping responsibility and making someone else look bad. There was no need to take responsibility OR to make anyone else look bad. This was defensive. When you use the word if, it suggests that you doubt the person. In this case, the patient hears, IF you are in pain (and I seriously doubt you are), I m sorry. This makes the patient feel as if he or she is part of the problem. Instructions for Leader

6 APPLY IT! #3: Fielding Expected Complaints Complaints are inevitable in every job. z In your work, what complaints do you hear frequently? z Identify 3 complaints and develop a Blameless Apology statement for each one. Situation Example: Patient arrives late, complaining of traffic Words for a GREAT Blameless Apology I m sorry getting here was so frustrating! A. B. C. Instructions for Team

7 APPLY IT! #3: Fielding Expected Complaints Suggestions z In 3 s; encourage people to work together to come up with GREAT words to use in this situation. z Encourage them to practice it three times each, so the words will flow more easily off of their tongues. z Close with these message points: Of course you can vary the words, but the goal is to be consistent with a great message in your Blameless Apology statement. Use your GREAT Blameless Apology the next 5 times the situation arises, and it will become habit. Instructions for Leader

8 APPLY IT! #4: One Goal for Improvement What do you need to do (or stop doing) to be more effective in offering Blameless Apologies in difficult situations? To figure this out, consider these questions: z Do I have compassion for people when they tell me their problems and concerns? z Do I express sincere regret? z Do I apologize whether or not it s my fault? z Do I say I m sorry without getting defensive? z Do I communicate my caring nonverbally as well so that my apology comes across as sincere? z Do I get specific as to the experience that I m sorry about? z Do I say I m sorry right away, even before investigating? Come up with one way you can improve and share it. Instructions for Team

9 APPLY IT! #4: One Goal for Improvement Suggestions z Have people discuss in groups of 3. z As a whole group, invite people to share their personal goals. START WITH YOURS! z Close with these message points: This skill seems easy; however, it can be challenging to keep our emotions in check and remain caring while expressing that with a Blameless Apology that includes sincere regret that the person has somehow suffered. Please work on your personal goal, and THANK YOU for all you re doing to master the Language of Caring skills and make your caring felt even when the heat is on. Instructions for Leader

10 SUCCESS STORIES #5: Bragging Rights Brag about a recent experience when you deliberately offered a Blameless Apology with a positive impact! Instructions for Team

11 SUCCESS STORIES #5: Bragging Rights Suggestions z Complete in small groups. z Invite sharing from the whole group. z Close with these message points: I m glad to hear that you caught yourselves using the Blameless Apology. That s great. If you see coworkers miss any opportunities, please talk with them about it. This is a really manageable skill and an easy way to show caring. Please help one another and keep up the good work! Instructions for Leader

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