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3 Tips for Apologizing to Your Employees


You’re the boss and, as they say, it’s good to be king. But what happens when your employees hear you making a sexist remark? As the guys at Penny Arcade saw at PAX, sometimes you just have to own up to your mistakes. Read on for tips on regaining the respect of your employees.

(Photo credit: Chase N./flickr)

Mike Krahulik, co-creator of PAX Prime, was participating in a Q&A session wherein he made a statement that effectively reignited an earlier controversy from 2010 when he, and the PAX brand, was accused of perpetuating sexism and pro-rape attitudes in the gaming industry and surrounding culture. This occurred on the heels of another issue earlier this year where Krahulik was accused of being dismissive of transgendered people.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Krahulik’s remarks opened old wounds and resulted in negative press for the PAX brand, as well as feelings of general mistrust and alienation in some PAX attendees. As a woman, and a gamer, I found myself wondering how his female employees might have felt when they heard their boss saying such offensive, dismissive things. He has since apologized for his remarks, but the bad press, and the sting, is still widespread.

Three Tips for Making it Right

So, what can Krahulik, or other managers, do after making a mistake that alienates employees? (Hat tip to Career Coach.)


  1. Listen up. If an employee suggests that something you have said or done was offensive, listen. Don’t jump to conclusions or attempt to defend yourself right away. Just listen.
  2. Own your mistake. People appreciate it when the boss has the grace to apologize. Your employees are more likely to forgive and move on when you acknowledge your mistake and offer sincere ways to make it right. 
  3. Change. This is the most important item on the list. If your mistake has shown you that you do have sexist or racist views, educate yourself and work hard to change. Your employees will see your efforts and appreciate your consistency.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you had to apologize to your employees? Have you had to deal with an offensive boss? Leave your advice in the comments.

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