Leading Your Team
Managing conflict is an inevitable part of leading teams. Most people do not like to deal with conflict, even if they are skilled in resolving it. In a world where people are quicker to react with anger and be less open to civil discussions, unresolved conflict can linger and fester.
When we are unable to resolve a conflict it can lead to sleepless nights, physical aches and pains, and damaged relationships. This is not good for us personally nor for our team dynamics.
It is possible to hold each other accountable AND give each other grace.
What is Grace?
The origin of the term “to give grace” was originally meant to end a mortally wounded and suffering combatant out of their misery with a quick and fatal wound.
Today, we often refer to grace as a way to forgive someone who may not be deserving. In She Is A Message, grace is described as “showing kindness to someone else even when they don’t deserve it. Grace is going out of our way to give your compassion, kindness, and love to someone even if they might not appreciate it, or return the favour.”
Grace and forgiveness hold an important space in all relationships. Grace is not only helpful for others, it is vital for our own mental health.
How to Extend Grace
As leaders, there are three ways we can extend grace even when we feel wronged:
- Assume positive intent. It is rare that people do something with the intention of harming us or our teams. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they did not mean to cause you trouble or pain. This will change your mindset and open you up to a meaningful discussion without being defensive.
- Empathize. Put yourself in their shoes and see the situation from their point of view. We all look at things through different lenses. If you can work to understand their perspective it may help you work to a resolution.
- Forgive. Until you forgive, you will be holding onto anger and resentment. Forgiving is about letting go of your bitterness. Practice finding the learning moments in the situation and releasing the negative emotions.
Encourage Your Team Members to Extend Grace
Leaders have many opportunities to coach their team members on conflict. Encouraging the assumption of positive intent and the use of empathy will often open the door to constructive conversations and new perspectives about the “other” person.
Demonstrate giving grace to others when they make mistakes. Ask for grace when you are in error. Talk about grace and forgiveness and then acknowledge and reward team members for this practice. In other words, model the way to inspire others.
Practice Giving Yourself Grace
We also need to give ourselves grace. As we make mistakes and hurt other people, it’s easy to beat ourselves up. Punishing ourselves does no good to anyone. Instead, learn, make amends when possible, forgive yourself, and move on. If this is a struggle, talk with a coach or trusted colleague so you can rethink your situation with a growth mindset and release any negative emotions that will hold you back.
Grace is a practice and it will not always be easy. The more we can give and receive grace, the more civility and positivity we will experience in our lives and on our teams.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, Team Consultant Academy, and FORWARD, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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