When facing public humiliation, disgrace, and a tarnished reputation, most of us pray for mercy and grace. We wish to be absolved from our wrong doings and go on to do better things, be given a better chance, and gain more positive enablers. So when I found out my beloved agency had an embezzlement scandal, I was rather shocked.
Sometime previously, there had been investigations completed, disciplinary action taken, and a conflict resolution specialist brought in as recommended by my action plan. Unfortunately the termination of employment for fraud and false representation had not been honoured. I have tremendous respect for my former CEO and have tried to understand the decisions made that kept the individuals who participated in criminal activity there.
Someone once told me that grace is a pardon of good will and faith, while mercy is getting what you don’t deserve.
Let me ask you, as managers and executive staff, do we not need mercy and grace in the workplace? It compliments forgiveness without explanation and complicated detail… More of a, “if you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot, you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot.” Most people deserve a second chance- I say that with my own bias towards anyone who’s a pedaphile or rapist- not acceptable under any circumstances and no, you don’t get a second chance in my books. But with that being said, I think we would all hope for a second chance because we all make mistakes. As managers, supervisors, assistants, friends, lovers, and someone’s child- we all make mistakes. A colleague of mine chuckled, “No one makes it through childhood unscathed.” And isn’t that the truth? We are not golden children who are golden statuesque adults of perfection. I admit, the workplace remedy of grace and mercy has further enabled my own sleep at night. It’s as though that one extra chance of walking the road with someone ensures you do your part on behalf of social exchange and give them the opportunity for change. And, if they are going to shoot themselves in the foot, then oh well. Employees want someone to believe in them. They don’t want someone watching them expecting a screw up. They don’t want their position to be undermined, nor taken for granted.
My experience has been that having good faith in sometimes even what appears to be the worst employee, really pays off. No- not because they marvelously change, but because instead of undermining them as a whole, even drowning in screw ups, you can sometimes make out a glimmer of talent- and as that wonderful employer that you are- you place them in another position within the company where that glimmer of talent encompasses their entire being and they can rock out as the best employee for that job ever. That’s called talent management- and by the way, it shouldn’t take HR to do talent management. It should be decent human beings who are rooting and hoping for one another. I think that’s well enough to ask for.
I hope that my employer continues to give me mercy and grace- just as swiftly as I am to judge others or make rash decisions. And before the few of you go out on a limb and start listing your degrees in assessment let me kindly remind you that it’s illegal to make decisions on an employee’s job based on predicting the future- it’s also against most spiritual practices. Please make sure you use your strategic planning for this one. Everyone deserves the feasible chance to get ahead. There’s enough success in the world to go around.