I met with the manager of a co-worker who had upset me through their actions. I know I somehow played a role in what happened, but the other person wasn’t talking to me.
The manager started our conversation by apologizing for the other person’s actions.
The apology didn’t land. It didn’t feel right that the manager was apologizing for them. Without knowing it, he set the tone for the conversation, “there’s nothing I can do about this.”
When you apologize for someone else, you are blaming them for the problem. Laying blame never resolves a problem. Blame says you don’t believe you can affect change.
When faced with someone complaining about another person, don’t apologize for the other person.
Seek clarity about what happened. Ask how you might help the situation. Then, support them in finding a resolution.
Just don’t apologize on behalf of the other person.
You’ve got this.