What did you think of when you read the title of this article? Did you think that it was about a flamboyant red head in the workplace or the political incorrectness of saying a prayer before you eat lunch in the company lunchroom? I am going to ask you to think about demonstrating grace at work, demonstrations that are easily transferable to every other part of life as well.
Grace is all about giving up self for the sake of others. It is about doing more without the expectation of anything in return. It is about first building relationships with people and knowing that fostering relationships will be beneficial to achieving desired results. Yet another way to think of grace is something given to me / others that I / they don’t deserve.
Grace is about how we treat others, placing their needs above ours. Tre Cates, CEO of Boulder’s Silicon Mountain Memory Inc., one of the fastest growing companies in the US, counsels his sales team to focus on the customer. Once a relationship has been established the products will be purchased with no need of being sold. Customers can find whatever products they need in any number of ways but the customers needs that are not being met are their emotional needs. Customers need to be taken care of and be received as more than a number. Much of the success of the coffee shop industry is built on knowing the customer, calling them by name, remembering their usual order preference; building a social yet professional relationship.
A small businessperson with whom I am acquainted was diligently serving his client when the client started paying later and later and soon stopped paying all together, leaving a balance owed of over $100,000.00. The businessperson met with the CFO of the client company to see how the situation could be remedied. A payment schedule was worked out and twelve months later the debt had been paid in full. The businessperson sent the CFO a thank you gift when the debt was paid. Grace had been offered; the client met with better financial times and is still a good client for the businessperson. The CFO changed companies and now their new company is a client of the businessperson too.
Employers who demonstrate grace toward their employees care about them as people, value their contributions no matter how great or small, expect the best from them then provide positive coaching when less than their best is delivered. Likewise, grace filled employees should give their employers their best efforts all the time and without worrying about what’s in it for me. Many employees have an entitlement mentality, thinking that they are entitled to receiving more and better when actually the only thing employees are entitled to is the opportunity to do their best at that job for the compensation they have been offered by the employer. Employers are legally bound to provide a safe workplace and pay the employee what was promised…nothing more. Employers and employees who each demonstrate grace however move beyond entitlement or legal obligations and give more while expecting nothing additional. The result of this grace filled employment relationship will be astounding.
Philip Yancy in his book entitled What’s So Amazing About Grace shares his insight about the ultimate offering of grace and how that translates to what happens at street level, how to lavish grace on a world that knows more cruelty and unforgiveness than it does of mercy; giving of self to benefit others, being givers of grace even when things don’t add up. Being givers of grace in the workplace, home, church, street corner requires overlooking the action or circumstance and focusing on the person. Being receivers of grace we receive more than we deserve, a very humbling experience.
Offering grace in the workplace is the caring component that establishes and delivers excellence while enhancing the overall human condition.