Getting Ahead by Letting Go. Forgiveness in the Workplace

I forgave someone today and it felt pretty good.

Forgiveness is a concept that seems more appropriate for a Sunday school lesson than a business strategy but that’s because it’s not a strategy at all. It’s a principle. And principles tend to do the darndest things – they exist whether we lend them credence or not.

Though it can’t be measured, tracked or scheduled, forgiveness can be implemented. I believe it’s essential for a healthy coexistence between any two people with a pulse, and absolutely necessary at work.

Questions I asked myself today:

  1. How hard is it to forgive peers and/or partners when they don’t meet my expectations of performance?
  2. The mistakes of leaders are often amplified. Why do they seem so hard to forgive?
  3. Are there professional challenges on my team that are rooted in the personal issues of co-workers who won’t let go of past faults?
  4. When was the last time I was blatantly wronged by a colleague? Did I retaliate or respond?

To be clear, forgiveness is not a synonym for compromise or lack of accountability. Forgiveness is an approach to managing your mental resources so adversity and disagreements actually create opportunity and positive transformation. Or put simply, forgiveness is the discipline of moving on.

This certainly requires you to know when, where and how to implement. Forgiveness is not overlooking faults in performance or experience. Forgiveness is not making excuses for errors or incompetency.  And forgiveness is certainly not a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for all issues, quite the opposite.

The cobbled pathway to forgiveness is frequently made up of the same tough conversations as the pathway to resentment. So what’s the difference? Forgiveness empowers you to take those stones and build something positive that benefits yourself and others.

Forgive frequently. Especially if you work with or know me.

AP

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