Lessons in apologizing from Warren Buffett

03/2/2009 | Bob Sutton's Work Matters blog

GM CEO Rick Wagoner only apologized when shirking blame failed to appease, says Stanford Professor Bob Sutton. Warren Buffett, though, went straight for the mea culpa. "I made some errors of omission, sucking my thumb when new facts came in that should have caused me to reexamine my thinking and promptly take action," he wrote to shareholders. Research on management apology "shows that the firms with the best performance over the long haul are led by people who get credit when things go well and take blame when things go badly," Sutton says.

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