How do you apologize when the thing you are apologizing for is an action (or inaction) of a peer? In particular where it took place without your knowledge or involvement, possibly at a time when that person was not your peer and they are no longer your peer.
I am currently in the position of fielding communications for a team I joined in January (about 2-300 emails a day all of which need either responding to or forwarding to a responsible person for response). In case it's relevant (I think it is) I am a High-C/High-D with virtually no I (classic IT techie profile) so am probably not ideal for this role (I imagine that a High-I/High-S would not struggle as much with the interpersonal side of the role, actually from what I know of the worst offender from having worked with him a few times he seems classic High-I) but I'm giving it my best shot.
Recently I have seen a lot of emails relating to the failure of one or more of my peers on the team to act (often where they had told the person they would perform a specific action but then didn't, without informing the person or, indeed, anyone else that they wouldn't) or of them doing something they shouldn't or wrong. Sometimes there have been legitimate reasons why the thing has not been done, e.g. over taken by higher priority work, so the real offence is not notifying the affected party and managing their expectations.
So far none of this rises to the level of misconduct (at least not sufficiently that they could be taken down a formal disciplinary route). In a number of cases the person who committed the original offence has left the team either to move onto another project or leave the organisation. In some case the offender left before I joined the team.
What I am having to do a lot of is apologize on behalf of the team, but I feel very uncomfortable doing it. A small part of my discomfort is that nagging feeling that it's not my fault so why should I apologize but I'm processing that and dealing with it. A much bigger part is that I feel that I'm not apologizing very well, in particular I find it hard to avoid seeming like I'm trying to pass on or spread around the blame.
It doesn't help that very often the apology has to be by email as the person is usually a number of miles away and we either do not have a phone number for them or we have their landline but they are out more than they're in and don't have voice mail (because they have email).
Typically an email looks like:
I am very sorry that your form was not processed earlier. I have found the information that you sent to [peer's name] and have now processed your form. You should get notification of [end result] by [date we expect the result to be sent to them].
I would appreciate any comments or suggestions.
Due to the culture of our organisation it would be highly inappropriate (andf possibly career ending) for me to give the offenders peer feedback, and as noted above mostly they have moved on any way. Our culture is also very prone to 'blamestorming',a situation I am very keen to avoid.