Sorry Palin: The Power of Apology When In Conflict

Posted By on March 22nd

 

Sarah Palin was visiting Israel, and while at the Temple Mount, her hosts explained that Jews are not allowed to openly pray on the Temple Mount, which is a holy site for both Jews and Muslims. Palin responded by asking, “Why are you apologizing all the time?”

Sarah Palin talks about apologizing

 

  

  

  

  

From my review of the news reports, I don’t completely understand the context of Palin’s question. Based on Palin’s past comments, I believe it’s fair to assume that she was really stating a belief that Israel, as an independent nation, should just be able to take whatever actions it wants to take and not acquiesce to the feelings and beliefs of those who disagree. In other words, Israel should be able to pray at the Temple Mount, build settlements in disputed areas, and damn those who disagree.

Although I agree with the premise that Israel is criticized way too much for its decisions, Palin’s comment about apologies shows a lack of understanding of the power of apologies when in conflict. Interestingly, Esquire magazine recently posted an article that claims Palin only publicly apologized seven times during 2010. You can read that article here: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/sarah-palin-sorry-011311

Many times we debate too much about whether any injury actually occurred and whether the recipient is deserving of an apology. Instead, there should be a recognition that strong relationships are built on equality and evenhandedness.

Technically speaking, an apology is an acknowledgement that the person has created an injury and they are accepting responsibility for the damage. Strong leaders are able to show humility and admit mistakes. An apology can also be a powerful tool in negotiations and mediation. Apologies are transformative experiences wherein the person who feels injured now feels empowered. The apology itself enables closure and allows the people involved to move on so they are able to work together in the future.

 

 
 

 

About the author

Keith Grossman helps individuals and businesses negotiate and manage conflict more comfortably. Keith is a Collaborative Attorney, a Family and Circuit Civil mediator certified by the Supreme Court of Florida, an Arbitrator qualified by the Florida Supreme Court, and an educator. Keith frequently lectures and facilitates training programs, works with individuals one-on-one, and writes articles on conflict management and negotiation topics. His e-workbooks, “What Is A Peace Chest?” and “How Do You Build A Peace Chest?“ are now available on Kindle.

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