Grace. It’s something we all need. Oddly enough, it’s not something that we give very freely. Every single one of us has junk in our lives. Instead of judgement or ridicule, we need to give grace and receive grace.
You’ve had at least one leader who was a jerk, a leader who was rough, a leader who didn’t have grace. The thing is that you have to understand people do what they’re taught.
Grace Requires A Relationship With God
Leading with grace requires one huge, huge thing. The first thing that leading with grace requires is, a relationship with the almighty God. A relationship with the one who has the most grace.
Your God is somebody who loves you so much, so much that he wants to spend eternity with you, that he did the greatest act of grace ever, and that was on the cross.
That was him saying, “I want everlasting life with you, and so I am going to take on the world’s worst beatings, the world’s worst punishment, so that I can have it with you.” All you’ve got to do is choose.
That act is such a massive act of love, and an act of grace.
Now what does that mean for leading? What it means is if I am going to treat people with grace, I must first have it. I have been given so much grace that I must give grace.
I have had so much grace in my life because I have screwed so many things up. I have done so many things with stupid. I have done so many things wrong, and I’ve needed that grace from God even when I didn’t realize I was doing things wrong.
It was there, and it’s been there, and I’ve been able to receive that. I’m able to look back on my life, and see many of the things that God has done to give me grace so I must give grace to others.
Leading others has to start with me. I start with the understanding that I have this grace.
Starting with that grace, you have to say, “What am I not doing? What am I leaving out? How am I leading people? How am I talking to people? Am I understanding that they’re going to make mistakes?
Am I understanding that there’s going to be failures? Am I understanding that they are human beings?”
You have to get to a place of understanding that you make mistakes, you have failures in your life, and how do you want people to treat you in those moments? Now knowing how you want to be treated, how should you treat others?
To lead with grace you have to understand mistakes are going to happen. You have to understand that leading people with anger, leading people with fear, is actually going to shut them down. You have to remove those parts.
It is your job as a leader to make your team successful, not the other way around. Their job is not to come in and make you successful, their job is to come in and be successful at something that you’ve hired them for.
You have to know that as a leader, by definition, you’re guiding people to a place, to a destination, and it’s your job to make them great at it. It is your job to make them successful at it.
You Are That Compassionate Leader, When You Are Able To Be Inspiring
At the very point a family member, friend, or co-worker needs our love and grace, we turn our back. We roll our eyes at their failure. We walk away. We kill our wounded.
We will do it to our co-workers, we will do it to our friends, we will do it to our families, we will do it to people in church. Somebody makes a mistake, or somebody does something that we don’t agree with, and especially with the advent of the all fantastic social media, and we’ll rip their heads off.
You can have grace in these moments.
Grace Under Pressure
While we all need acceptance and attention, some need it more than others. So how you handle it matters. Getting mad is only going to hurt their feelings, and make you feel like a dork. Instead, come at it from the side of grace.
How would you want to be treated? Or, better yet, how would you want someone to treat your son or daughter if they were the one with the problem? You have to understand that it is imperative you use kid gloves when handling a situation like this.
My suggestion is you take them out of the cubicle/office setting, and have a calm discussion with them. One where you use the “sandwich” technique.
Start by telling them a few of the things that you appreciate about them most. Seriously, come up with some good stuff. Then gently tell them you have a concern that may make them feel defensive, but you hope that it doesn’t.
YOU are in control, period. The sooner you know that and can focus on being graceful towards the situation the better. Beat those Root System lies down with truth.
Grace Under Fire
When it’s time to let them go, be graceful. Be graceful in the process, treat them the way you would want to be treated. Still treat them with dignity. Even if they’ve done really stupid stuff, treat them with dignity.
Help them to understand that, “Hey, I am so sorry that we are here.” You’ve made bad mistakes in the past as well, so treat them the way you would want to be treated.
Understand that this is somebody’s child.
Avoid Frozen Office Decorations
For that person who doesn’t have grace or the leader who leads with fear, you need to understand that when you lead people with fear, you completely shut them down.
Like I say, you have frozen office decorations at that point. That’s what they are. They will do less than half of their possible productivity, they will not take risks, they will not do anything that possible gets them in trouble.
They know you don’t have grace, so you are now paying full price for somebody who’s doing half the work because you’re leading badly, because you’re not leading with grace.
Remember, treat them with grace in the process, you will have highly productive fantastic people who love working with you.
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Question: How do you think leading with grace could improve a team?