The pursuit of perfection doesn’t allow space for grace. Yet grace is the very thing we need in order to learn and grow. We need space to accept grace and give it to others. By giving grace, we give permission for our team to extend grace.
We mirror, what we see.
What does grace look like in action?
How you react to mistakes sets the tone for your team. Your response tells them what is and isn’t acceptable. Mistakes are not a four-letter word. Dismissing mistakes without talking about them ignores opportunities for growth. Blaming others and making excuses absolves individual accountability.
Instead when faced with mistakes, use it as an opportunity to extend grace.
- Review what was learned during the project.
- Make notes of what went well. This encourages repetition of the good things and builds on them.
- Make notes of what to improve. Use these notes to refine internal processes and templates, as needed.
- Include feedback in evaluation of the project. An extra pair of eyes helps add perspective.
Mistakes don’t only occur in our work.
Mistakes happen in relationships too.
They show up as assumptions, the wrong choice of words, going left when you should’ve gone right, crossing boundaries, overreacting, etc. Many things influence our behavior. Fear, stress, ignorance, lack of sleep, hunger can cause us to say or do things we wish we didn’t.
I’m guilty of it. Stressed trying to complete a project with little resources. Then someone interrupts me to ask a question. Without paying attention, I respond with a bothered look and a short answer. Is my response a personal attack? No, but I can do better.
- First, I can apologize for my response.
- Next, I communicate my boundaries. Ex: I’m available from 8-10am, but from 10-11am I’ll be unavailable.
- Then, I hold to them being accountable to myself and my team.
- Finally being more aware of my verbal and non-verbal communication.
In the big picture, it may seem like my response doesn’t matter. But repeated over time it adds up. Impacting my relationship with my team and thus affecting their performance.
Learning to fully accept grace makes it easier to give it to others.
Accepting grace fully allows us to authentically give it. Authentically meaning our behavior and words are in alignment. It’s easy to say something, but harder to follow through in our actions if we don’t believe it 100%.
Grace Assumes Good Intent
Grace gives the benefit of the doubt. It assumes good intention.
We’re quick to judge and slow to ask questions. Holding others to an unrealistic standard. Assuming behavior was malicious or hateful. In reality, most people are caught up with their own situations and not thinking about you.
What could happen, if we led with questions first and then made an assessment?
The team member who didn’t respond when you said “hi.” What if they’re stressed about a meeting and didn’t hear you. Grace is saying hi, again, and asking how their day is going.
The person who didn’t respond to your email. What if they’re swamped and haven’t had time to respond. Grace is following up; asking how you can help make it easier to get a response or action completed.
The person who didn’t respond to your DM or tag. How many notifications do you think they get a day? Especially if they’re a small business. If you truly support them, keep supporting them regardless of attention.
The business who has a broken link. Tech gets the best of everyone. Send a message asking if they have an updated link or different resource.
Everyone is in a hurry. We’re pursuing this idea of perfection and overlooking grace. Those who pause to extend grace, to ask questions, and to be self aware will have an advantage. Their relationship with themselves, customers, team members, and peers will be better for it.