Write an Apology Letter to Your Boss or Company

Edited by Train Wreck, Eng, VisiHow, ramesh suresh

Writing an apology letter to your boss can be difficult and embarrassing. We understand this, and will help you compose your letter as quickly and easily as possible. There are a number of reasons why you may need to write your boss or your company an apology letter. Perhaps you were late or missed an important deadline, you acted or spoke in a way that was out of line with the company's values or that was disrespectful towards your colleagues, or you may have even been suffering from poor performance lately. Obviously, your apology is best delivered in a face-to-face meeting, but there may be some cases in which this is not possible. In this article, our goal is to help you understand the main components of a business apology letter, if you need to write one. This way, your letter will be appropriate and clear, unlike the some of the jokes unfortunately told at company holiday parties.

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Avoid Delays

Write your apology letter as soon as possible. If you delay your apology, you may forget some important details, or even appear careless. The goal is to recognize your error and swiftly work to address any issues that may arise from it. If you're lucky, your misstep will only be recognized by a small number of your colleagues. It is possible, however, that there may be unintended consequences that your boss will need to carefully respond to and manage. In this case an apology and an offer to assist can help save your job.

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Avoid E-mail

E-mail, while fast and convenient, is not the appropriate tool to deliver your apology. Instead, type your letter formally in a document, print and sign it, then deliver it. You can also hand write the letter, but keep in mind it should be professional. That means no fancy calligraphy, and no excessive use of pleasantries. It's a business apology, and should reflect the tone of business correspondence.

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Address the Issue Using Specific Examples

Whether your apology refers to a specific case, such as missing an important meeting or telling a joke that was not well-received, or refers to a general pattern such as recent poor performance or absence from work, you should provide concrete examples. Providing examples will demonstrate to your boss that you fully understand the problems your behavior has caused and that you accept responsibility for your action(s).

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Write Your Apology Letter

Now that you're ready to begin writing, let's review the parts of the letter, which can be tailored to fit your situation.

  1. 1
    Date and Salutation.
    At the top of your letter, include the date and follow with a blank line. Then, write your salutation in the following manner:
    • Dear Mr./Ms. ____________,
    • This will leave no doubt that the letter has been delivered to and will be read by the correct recipient.
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  2. 2
    Sincerely apologize and provide details of the situation.
    Open your letter with a sincere apology and a general description of your wrongdoing. Have you recently been consistently late or absent for something important? Have you missed deadlines or not followed instructions? Clearly state a summary of what you have done wrong in this section. Then, follow your general statement with more specific details. The example below can help you as you format this part of your letter:
    • I am writing to formally and sincerely apologize for my recent inability to meet an important project deadline. The initial draft version of the next issue of our magazine was due before July 25th, however, I did not submit it until July 31st
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  3. 3
    Accept responsibility and note any impact(s) to your business.
    It's important to note that owning your mistake can go a long way in trying to gain the respect of your peers as well as your superiors. While it may be tempting to point fingers, you may ultimately lose the respect and confidence of your colleagues if you take this route. In this part of your letter, admit your error and communicate that you know that this error can be damaging to your business, as in the example provided below:
    • I understand my mistake and take full responsibility for failing to meet the deadline we agreed upon. I understand that as a result, our team will need to work much harder in order to meet our final publication deadline. I am extremely sorry to have caused a situation that will likely put additional stress on you, our colleagues, and myself.
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  4. 4
    State your commitment to ensuring that your error will not happen again.
    It's very important that those you work with can trust you to meet expectations. If you lose their trust and their confidence in your ability declines, you may be on your way to looking for a new job. Make sure you convey your understanding of this in your letter.
    • It is very important to me, as well as to the team, that deadlines are met. I understand how important these deadlines are to our business and will be absolutely sure not to let this situation happen again. I will do everything possible to honor my future commitments to the company.
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  5. 5
    State your willingness to meet and do whatever is needed to help resolve the problem.
    Perhaps a personal meeting at the time of the letter would not have been possible. Therefore, you should note this, as a face-to-face discussion is always preferable to a letter of apology. Also, noting your willingness to do whatever is necessary to resolve the issue will show your boss that you are still a team player and ready to assist.
    • I understand that at the time of writing this letter, a personal meeting with you was not possible. I want you to know that I am ready to meet and discuss this issue in further detail. I'm also prepared to take any action necessary to resolve this problem.
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  6. 6
    Close your letter.
    To close your letter, a simple "Sincerely," followed by your signature and name is enough, as demonstrated by the example below:
    • Sincerely,
    • (sign here)
    • (Type your name)
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While at times uncomfortable or embarrassing to write, a formal letter of apology, when needed, can help improve your standing with your colleagues and your boss. It can also reaffirm your commitment to working with the company as a team player. The goal of your apology is to maintain good working relations with your colleagues, your superiors, and the company. For this reason, honesty, sincerity, and a demonstrated commitment are critical. We at VisiHow hope that you will never need to write an apology letter to your boss or company. If you do though, these guidelines will have helped you to write a convincing letter, and sincerely apologize.

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See more tutorials on writing letters: Write a Letter of Apology and Write a Letter of Pleading.

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Recent edits by: VisiHow, Eng, Train Wreck

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