Forgiveness is an often-overlooked leadership skill. The act of forgiveness is seen as weakness, emotional, and vulnerable. As leaders, it is challenging to lead and focus on all the elements of running a successful business even when you have access to the levers of power to make decisions. It is even more challenging when key elements are outside of your control or unplanned events impact you. Some events are exhilarating, and other events give you pause. As we consider the new decade ushered in this year of 2020, the first several months have offered a lot.
The start of anything new, including how we move forward in the wake of the coronavirus, brings new goals and objectives, a look ahead, and developing a plan to achieve the desired goals. There is a hopefulness about starting something new or starting fresh. It also offers an opportunity to reflect on the past, the choices made to implement the desired results, and determine the effectiveness of those decisions. In the course of the reflection and the look forward, inevitably, there is an examination of your performance. There may be regrets. So, what does this have to do with forgiveness?
Sometimes, leaders are so hard on themselves and may not realize the importance of forgiveness. As the saying goes to “to err is human, to forgive is divine.” For leaders, and for many of us, forgiveness is not easy. If forgiveness is something to bestow on someone else, it is equally as hard. Yet, forgiveness is not about the other person; it’s about you and your reaction. When we practice forgiveness, what we learn is:
- It is always an inside job.
- It helps us overcome fear.
- It makes us stronger and more resilient.
- It opens the way for peace and hope.
As you focus on the goals, desired actions, and plans for yourself through the rest of this year and this decade, allow yourself to practice the act of forgiveness. It is powerful, especially when you must forgive someone who isn’t sorry and accept an apology you never received.