Daneen Skube

How women can tame the apology reflex at work

Q: I'm a female senior IT professional, and the older I get, the more I notice how often I apologize during the day. I consider that I have good interpersonal skills, but I wonder if apologizing frequently is undermining my reputation. How and when do you recommend your clients apologize at work? Do you find women apologize more than men?

A: Yes, research on language indicates women apologize profusely more than men do. You are also right that there is a time and place when apologies are useful and many occasions where an apology will undermine you. The truth about where and when to apologize may surprise you.

Women apologize more than men typically because women learn to...