Grace in the Workplace

Why would grace be a lesson on leadership? How can it not? Grace is the state many wise leaders seek: grace under fire. The state of grace, however, is not just essential under fire; grace serves leaders all of the time. During times of stress, confusion, joy, and peace, grace is always at its best.Many leadership books talk about policies, procedures, and processes. The extreme challenge in today’s organizations is that we value policies and procedures more than we value and honor people. As the Rev. Dr. King, Jr. said, “we need a heart full of grace”. Grace is found in love and personifies elegance, politeness, and generosity of spirit. An organization steeped in love, is an organization steeped in grace.Grace is a word and concept ripe with different mental models for people. Most definitions and constructs have common elements such as beauty, elegance, dignified manner, generosity of spirit, and a gift from God. The ability to see beauty in anything is a gift of grace. Mother Teresa saw beauty in the poorest of the poor, when she said, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.” Grace is seeing with the heart and eyes of God.Victor Frankl described the worst of horrors in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning. He told a story of sitting on the floor in the concentration camp eating soup, exhausted after laboring all day for the Nazis, when a fellow prisoner rushed in to ask them to join him outside to marvel at the wonderful sunset. Even in the midst of the heinous concentration camps, those prisoners understood the beauty of grace.Grace is elegance personified. Many of my female executive clients work with me to reclaim their femininity in their high-level leadership positions. Through the process of reconnecting with their feminine energy, they discover elegance and grace. Elegance is refined confidence in self. It is a calm, quiet knowledge of self-efficacy that you can handle anything that comes your way with dignity. This comes from knowing you will never run out of resources because you are tapped into your source, the source of all resources, God.Grace through elegance is a powerful leadership example. I’ll never forget when Paula, a colleague 20 years my senior said to me, “I never knew that a woman could lead with softness and femininity. I always thought you had to be tough, hard-nosed, and aggressive for others to follow. Thank you for showing me another way, an even more effective way.” An authentic way. Paula learned the power of elegance and grace in leadership. She saw it in fact, move mountains.How do you see grace manifested in your workplace?With love,MariaBTW – This is an excerpt from my book!