Writing an apology letter to your boss may seem like a daunting task, especially if you don’t think you should have to apologize or if the blunder was so great that you feel embarrassed to address it. However, your boss relies on you to be professional and responsible, so when you make a mistake, an apology letter is a great way to make amends. If you don’t put thought into this type of letter, you run the risk of making matters worse. A poorly written apology letter may seem insincere or unprofessional and may negatively affect your job and rapport with your boss. Begin the process of repairing this important professional relationship by looking at our apology letter to boss templates. Follow our guidelines to create an appropriate apology letter that will allow you—and your boss—to move past your mistake in the workplace.

Apology Letter to Boss Template

Below is an example of an apology letter, written by Julia Thompson. Julia works as a receptionist in a doctor’s office for her boss, Dr. Robert Mendez, and recently made the mistake of booking two different patients for the same date and time. As a result, one patient, displeased with the inconvenience, had to reschedule an important appointment.

Dear Dr. Mendez,

I want to apologize for the booking error I made recently concerning John Wilson. Last Tuesday, as I scheduled appointments, I failed to follow proper protocol. When Mr. Wilson called to make an appointment, I allowed another call to distract me. Rather than place him or the other caller on hold to put the appointment details into our computer log immediately, I wrote myself a note on a piece of paper. I then busied myself with other tasks, misplaced the note, and forgot to log the appointment.

I understand that this office has its scheduling protocol to avoid such mistakes, and I take full responsibility for my carelessness. My error caused Mr. Wilson to make an unnecessary trip to the office and experience an inconvenient disruption to his schedule. It also tarnished this office’s impeccable reputation for efficient booking, and for that I am sorry.

I have taken steps to remedy this unprofessional oversight. I spoke to Mr. Wilson on the telephone to apologize directly and reschedule his appointment for next Thursday, and I will send him a confirmation letter, apologizing again, on Monday. I deeply regret my carelessness, and I hope you can forgive me. I promise to be much more attentive from now on, and if there is anything else I can do to fix this error, please let me know.


Julia Thompson

How To Write an Apology Letter to Your Boss

No matter how careful you are at work, mistakes sometimes happen. Unfortunately, your mistakes may affect your boss’s business or reputation. This makes an apology letter essential to making amends and successfully moving past the incident. The purpose of such a letter is to accept responsibility for your mistake, and to be most effective, it should also explain how the error occurred as well as detail how you will do better in the future to avoid repeating the mistake.

Keep in mind that your boss is reading this letter. Make sure it is professional and to the point throughout its entirety. Begin by apologizing within the first couple of sentences, as our apology letter to boss template exemplifies. Then explain what caused you to make the mistake. Go into just enough detail so your boss understands what happened without having to read a novel of an explanation.

Next, show you understand the consequences of your mistake and accept full responsibility. Even if you believe someone or something else played a part in the error, focus on your own actions. Remain serious, honest, and sincere throughout your message to show your boss your professional manner and integrity.

Finish your apology letter with a strong conclusion. Point out the ways in which you might fix the mistake or lessen the negative consequences. Detail the steps you can take to make sure you avoid making the same error again and communicate your resolve to do better in the future. Ask your boss to forgive you within the last few sentences to close your letter on a strong note.

What To Avoid in Your Apology Letter to Your Boss

There are a few common mistakes people make when apologizing. As you write your apology letter to your boss, make sure you don’t try to make excuses in your explanation of your mistake. For example, the office may have been short-staffed on the day of Julia’s blunder, or another receptionist may have neglected to help with phone calls, but Julia does not focus on external circumstances or other people. Emphasize your part in the mistake so your boss knows you are serious about apologizing.

Similarly, avoid passive language that subtly shifts responsibility off of you. Notice how in our template, Julia declares that she “misplaced the note” instead of stating that “the note was misplaced.” Accept fault directly instead of beating around the bush.

Finally, while you may think a joke or two might ease tension, your boss may view your humor as a sign of insincerity. Use a professional and heartfelt tone in your letter and show that you understand the seriousness of your mistake.

How To Follow Up After Sending Your Apology Letter to Your Boss

Once you send your apology letter to your boss, you are one step closer to moving past your workplace error, but you are not finished yet. It’s important to follow up after an appropriate amount of time passes to see if your boss can forgive you. Allow your boss a few days to read and reflect on your letter, and then check in to talk about your letter and the mistake. The best way to do this is with a face-to-face meeting, but if you do not see your boss often, a phone call is also appropriate. Remember to ask if there are plausible ways for you to fix your mistake.

Top 5 Apology Letter to Boss Writing Takeaways

1. Apologize directly

Your letter should include a straightforward apology. Show your sincerity by stating “I apologize” or “I’m sorry” at least once in your message. Additionally, ask your boss to forgive you. This shows your commitment to making amends.

2. Accept full responsibility for your mistake

While it is uncomfortable and even embarrassing to admit fault, especially at work, doing so shows integrity and responsibility. Ensure that your letter does not shift blame. Address your actions with complete honesty.

3. Offer an explanation, not an excuse

Explain what happened leading up to your mistake. Don’t make excuses, but communicate the context of your actions so your boss can understand why and how the mishap happened.

4. Use a professional and sincere tone

Make sure your apology letter to your boss is respectful, genuine, and appropriate for the workplace. This helps you to communicate effectively and increase your chances of repairing this professional relationship.

5. Show how you might remedy the mistake

If you have already taken steps to fix your mistake, include them in your letter. If not, suggest ways in which you are willing to repair the situation. Make sure your boss knows you are open to his or her suggestions for remedial action.