With Grace

Scripture of the Week – Romans 12:3 – “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” 

This week we’re addressing the topic of grace and really this is a continuation of the Truth topic from last week. Speak the truth…with grace. One without the other can have significant consequences. Our scripture this week helps us understand the humility with which we must hold truth and offer grace. By not thinking too highly of ourselves, we are much more able to speak truth with grace to those around us who need to hear it. 

Therefore, like many topics we address with leaders in the TCTC community, it always starts with ourselves. First we must examine times we have needed grace and when we have received grace. Then look more closely at times we were called to extend grace to others even when extending grace still means we have to demote someone, fire someone and/or re-organize the company – many times decisions no one else will understand because they don’t have the same information you have as the leader. 

Let’s start from a posture of humility – when have you needed grace and you received it? When could you have received grace and did not? 

For Josh, a story of grace comes to mind from when he was in high school. He spent the summer doing Christian ministry work across the country and ended up getting very sick towards the end and losing almost 10 pounds. Well, entering his senior year of high school and competing for a starting spot on the football team is put in serious jeopardy when losing that kind of weight. Josh was devastated, unable to do end of summer conditioning, and ready to not go out for the team. He received a call from his head coach the night before two-a-days began. The coach asked about how things were going and then offered that if Josh came out for the team, he would extend him grace to take extra breaks, etc as needed as his body made it back into shape. Now, while Josh never made it into a starting role, he was one of only four members of the senior class to letter every year. He was voted by the players as inspirational player of the year and by the coaches for special teams player of the year. Grace from his coach enabled Josh to realize the rewards he would have otherwise missed and likely regretted for a long time. 

Fast forward to college for a story and Josh did not receive grace – and likely did not deserve it :). It was finals and Josh (a Christian Education major) was heading out for another summer of ministry work and finishing up quickly, in some cases early, before leaving. In a rush, one of his professors asked a written question on the final about the purpose of Christian ministry. Instead of taking the time to write a thoughtful answer, a younger, cheeky Josh decided to write “GOD” in big letters and move-on to the next question. Unfortunately, this did not impress the professor (who even knew well Josh’s situation of leaving for ministry work) and so he graded the answer appropriately…sans grace! 

So from the posture of humility knowing when and where we have received grace or hoped for it and not received it – let’s consider how we might extend grace to others as leaders. 

As we discuss on the podcast next week, grace is all about getting into someone’s well. Understanding who they are, how they were formed, their motives, etc. This requires us to understand people well and invest in them long before they commit any acts requiring us to extend grace to them. 

First, consider your own philosophy of people and work. A strong influence on Josh is an understanding of Family System theory. This reality helps see people as whole beings who are made up of their current circumstances (family, health, relationships) and a product of their experiences (childhood, gifts, resources). 

Next, create margin. Josh was mentored by a CFO at a health system who took time out of his day just to walk by and show acts of kindness like inviting Josh to lunch. This was an influential example in Josh’s career about the importance of creating margin to learn about people because this forms a meaningful relationship from which grace can be given. 

Finally, just listen. By understanding where people are coming from, you can contextualize hard messages of truth with grace when you understand how someone was raised, their gifts, their insecurities, and the current state of their life or relationships outside of work. 

With the relationship foundation in place, you are now able to figure out how to extend grace along with truth to each person on your team and in your life who depends on you as a leader.  

What are some ways The Consultant and The Coach help their clients with grace? 

The Consultant

  • Work with a Board and CEO on establishing high-functioning relationships that extend well beyond work into functional, personal relationships. 
  • Infuse the strategy with plans on how to build strong culture of working relationships that allow for radical grace and truth to be delivered daily

The Coach

  • Build a plan with an executive on how to enhance their relationships with their team and communication style so they are extending grace in their daily interactions

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