Micro-Action 7: Give grace
Welcome to another excerpt from my workbook, Workplace Positivity.
What would the office look like if everyone shifted their perspective to include
grace shown to those they work with?
Just the word “grace” brings my heart rate down a few notches. It’s filled with the
promise of forgiveness. It reminds me we’re all on a journey and no one has arrived
at that place of perfection. We all need to give each other a break.
I’m pretty good about extending grace until someone annoys me or catches me off
guard. Maybe you know what I mean. You walk into the office happy as can be, but
then open your email and find 24 messages asking you to do things that shouldn’t be
your responsibility. At just that moment, someone pops into your workspace to get
your opinion on something and your first reaction is to exasperatedly bark, “That’s
fine. Whatever. Just take care of it.”
You don’t mean to be rude or unkind. They just caught you at a bad moment.
How do you want that person to react to you? Do you want them to walk away
and tell everyone to avoid you because you’re being a jerk today? Or do you want
them to give you some space and then come back to gain more understanding?
I know what I prefer. I would much rather have someone let me settle down and
then ask me, “Is everything okay? Do you need me to take something off your plate?”
At that point, I have the opportunity to say, “I’m sorry. I got 24 emails before my
first cup of coffee and you caught me in the middle of it. Can we try that again?”
COACH NEAL’S NOTES
I sat with Ken and Margie Blanchard in their home in North County San Diego.
Ken and I were working together, managing a team of directors. We were trying to sort
out why one director would behave the way he did. Ken is kind in his perceptions, by
training and inclination. I, on the other hand, was more willing to believe the person had
a critical attitude and negative intentions. We asked Margie what she thought. She made
a statement I have never forgotten and have repeated it often. “Grace is assuming a person
is doing the best they can, given their current level of understanding.”
What I appreciate most about Margie’s observation is that it invites me to assume
something kind about a person without having to agree with them or ignore when
something is clearly wrong. We can offer someone grace without turning a blind eye to
problems. It gives us a chance to demonstrate kindness in challenging situations.
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