A colleague reported to me attending a seminar and hearing a very experienced COO make a presentation about “grace management”; adding grace to your management and leadership repertoire.
This topic seldom gets mentioned in any Top 10 list of attributes for managers. I love the idea of coaching and teaching about applying grace in the business world.
GRACE is not a person or a thing. Rather, in my humble opinion, grace is a state of mind. We can’t earn it. Many feel they don’t deserve it. So, I believe that is why I have yet to find the topic of grace being spoken about in any of the management and leadership books I follow. Could there be a movement brewing? Let’s start one!
Maybe you first heard about grace from a Pastor, Priest, or Rabbi. No, this will NOT be a Bible study article. I simply want to tell you about adding grace to several parts of your life.
What is Grace?
Please allow me to explain my thoughts about grace, then we will apply them to your situation.
1. I said grace is a mindset. It lives halfway between our head and our heart. We can over-think it, thus killing the spirit of it. Or, we can over-give it, thus defying the logic of what we might need to be doing with it. It is a delicate balance of thought, logic, emotion, and self-worth.
2. It does include a dose of forgiveness. Forgiveness not just for a moment, then later to be revoked, but permanent. Wiped clean, wiped off, wiped out.
3. In modern terms, grace gives us the break in ‘give me a break’. It cuts you some slack. It soothes the hurt. It takes away the sting. It is the essence of ‘let it go’. My eldest son suggested ‘breathe’.
There is so much more to grace, but I will leave it at this for now. So with these ideas in mind, how should you and I apply grace? I have several recommendations.
Where Does Grace Need to Be Applied?
First and foremost, apply it to your own life. No one ever grades us harder than we grade ourselves. Grace allows you to add a curve to the grading. It gives you bonus points.
Giving yourself grace for the things that have not worked out helps to eliminate negative forces that can cripple our effort to move forward. When you look back at your life, are you haunted by things not done or the ‘wrong’ things you DID do? Do you lament decisions you made? Do you beat yourself up over relationships that went wrong or business deals that did not work out?
If you said YES to any of those, you need some grace in your life. Decide when, where, and how you will give yourself some grace so that the New Year can get going without hurdles.
Next, if you manage people, what grace do you give them? We all know there are boundaries and standards that must be applied at work. But your co-workers are human. You need to extend some grace. It is a certainty that someone somewhere in your circle will fall short of a goal. Once the required administration of the situation is complete, do you offer grace? You can demonstrate grace by establishing a work environment where the employee feels the slate is truly wiped clean once any offense is addressed.
Sidebar – Yes, I know managers must deal with disciplinary matters that set up probationary periods. So there will be a cloud over the employee while that period is in force. While this is happening, will you treat all other aspects of the person’s work effort with grace?
The other area in your life where grace is vitally needed is family; starting with your spouse (if married), then your children. Have these people committed some offense for which you have yet to forgive? Have you thought about giving them grace? Relationships need grace. No two people can be perfect all of the time; things happen, disappointments occur. Being a beacon for the light of grace in your own household can set a very positive environment for everyone in the family.
Here are 5 key questions about grace.
- When was the last time you visited the topic of grace? Do you have a good understanding of grace? You must have a concept of the total scope about grace before you can use it or give it.
- Has grace been given to you lately? When was the last time someone showed you grace?
- Do you owe yourself some grace? Living in a constant darkness about failures, fears, and false values limits what you can be. Giving yourself some grace goes a long way to eliminating these crippling mindsets.
- Who do you know that needs you to give them grace? I believe we need to give grace to those around us. Decide about someone in your immediate circle and move to give them grace today.
- Will you add grace to your leadership toolkit? True leadership inspires rather than controls. Giving grace provides a meaningful way to redeem someone on your team who had faltered or failed on a task. Why wouldn’t this be an important consideration for ways to lead people?