Are grudges hurting your team? 

As leaders, we’re often at a crossroads, with an important choice to make. You can hold a grudge, skip the meeting, become nonresponsive, noncommunicative, and freeze out the people who have upset you. Or, you can lead with hospitality. You can forgive, be the bigger person, take the high road, and work on mending the relationship. 

Your grace in these moments will be magnetically attractive, making the other person feel important. 

When a leader steps up and forgives a mistake made by someone on their team, the person who fell short is touched. Truly, genuinely touched. Earlier we hit on the importance and impact of emotional connections with brands and leaders. Offering up forgiveness when people don’t deserve it is the epitome of grace. It’s also the tossing gasoline-on-a-fire equivalent to cultivating emotional connections among people and relationships on a team. In this context, unraveling what it means to lead with hospitality, and forgiving others is perhaps the greatest way to make them feel important.  

In a moment of defeat when they feel awful about themselves after falling short – whether it was a misstep, an argument, a missed goal, a bad email, a terrible day, or an out-of-character act – the feelings of guilt can be smothering. You know how it is. The reality is even though they made a mistake, chances are, you or I have either made the same mistake before, or we’ve done something even worse!  

Keep in mind that a mistake isn’t the end of the world. In fact, the ancient root of the word “mistake” is a term from the sport of archery that means a person simply 

“missed the mark.” 

So, humbly let them know. Yes, they missed the mark this time. But it’s okay to not be okay all the time. It’s certainly okay to not be perfect. If you help them to learn from it, so they grow in some way, shape, or form, then it’s all good. You’ve served them well as their leader. 

I love the Matthew West song, Grace Wins. The following verse sums up the sentiment, and paints a perfect picture of what it means to lead with hospitality: 

There’s a war between guilt and grace 

And they’re fighting for a sacred space 

But I’m living proof 

Grace wins every time.” 

Point to experiences or circumstances in your past or someone else’s past when despite a misstep, everything worked out. Those on your team will be comforted, and they’ll feel important as a result of your grace in that situation. That kind of compassion leads to new realms of connection, trust, and respect. Those are the building blocks for inspiring people to give of themselves – their time, talent, and skills – over and above the call of duty. 

They’ll walk through a brick wall for you when you acknowledge the mistake and reassure them everything will be okay. Once again, you’ll have inspired their best effort next time around by making them feel important with your grace.