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How to Apologize if My Boss Found Out I Was Talking Behind His Back

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Talking about someone behind her back can damage relationships and create a lack of trust, especially when it's your boss. Not only can you put your job at risk, you risk a bad recommendation when you look for another job. A sincere apology can show a sign of great strength and character, so it's important to get it right if you hope to receive forgiveness and heal the embarrassment both of you have suffered.

Apologize Immediately

Approach your boss and apologize for talking about him. Be specific in your apology. Tell him you are sorry for talking about him behind his back and apologize for hurting him or causing him embarrassment. By being specific, you are letting your boss know you understand the nature of your wrongdoing and you are ready to make it right. "Psychology Today" states that by doing this you are reestablishing a common moral ground and you affirm that you and your boss have similar values. You can also send a letter of apology if you feel extremely anxious about speaking to him face-to-face. Address the letter to your boss, include your apology in the body and sign your name. Even if you don't plan on saying the apology in person, be sure to deliver it in person.

Offer an Explanation

Provide an explanation of why you were talking about your boss in the first place. If you were tired or frustrated or if you are having problems with another employee, let your boss know that this behavior was not your normal way of acting and you will not let it happen again. You should show that you understand your boss's feelings and you sincerely feel bad, or else your apology will sound fake. For example, explain to your boss you have been extremely stressed over a recent project and you felt that by talking about him you would take some of the pressure off yourself.

Accept Responsibility

Don't blame anyone for your actions but yourself. Ask if there is anything you can do to make the situation better. If your boss wants you to address the person you were talking to in order to make it right, then apologize to the person you had the conversation with and explain you were wrong. A good apology should make you feel guilty and make you suffer, suggests "Psychology Today." It also shows you are truly upset with yourself over the incident.

Forgive Yourself

Once your boss accepts your apology and you make the situation right with him, you must learn to forgive yourself. According to the University of Massachusetts, you must learn to let go of the guilt in order to move forward and begin building trust in the relationship again. Create a plan of action to never let the incident happen again. Pledge to walk away when you hear others gossiping, whether it is about your boss or anyone else.


Based in Atlanta, Melody Dawn has been writing business articles and blogs since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times," "Player's Press" and "USA Today." She is also skilled in writing product descriptions and marketing materials. Dawn holds a Master of Business from Brenau University.

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