I’ve been thinking about forgiveness and the power it can have in the workplace. In my personal life, I like to cultivate and forge relationships with people who are patient and are capable of extending forgiveness. There is a freedom that comes with establishing these types of relationships. Generally, you are free to make mistakes without lasting harm. Of course, it also requires that you see your mistakes and the nature of them and apologize or ask for forgiveness.
In the workplace, cultivating a place where there is forgiveness helps create a space where people are encouraged to try things, to think outside the box, to stretch themselves to their very limits, to be risky without it bringing harsh consequences down on them.
It also creates a place where people’s individual quirks are not used against them, where new employees are not expected to be perfect, where staff are allowed to make mistakes knowing that they will learn from those mistakes and that they will not be punished for taking risks.
Punishment and the holding of grudges is poison.
I’ve worked in places where grudges were being held for things that happened 10 and 20 years ago!!! Clearly, this is not productive. This is what can happen when we start looking outside of ourselves instead of just focusing on our own work and our own impact on the workplace.
The next time someone does something that pisses you off, let them have a free pass. Forgive them, let it go and move on. See how it feels. Does it really matter that your manager made a mistake with the schedule? Does it matter that an irate customer is passed to you because of something someone else did? No, ultimately, it really doesn’t matter. Schedules get ironed out. We all make mistakes with customers or maybe even it’s an opportunity to educate a coworker about a policy or share with them a different way of handling a problem.
In the big picture, being mad at these people, wouldn’t help you serve customers, wouldn’t help you maintain a healthy, enthusiastic morale, would negatively impact your happiness and would generally distract you from your work.
Forgiveness is a wonderful gift to share with your coworkers. Try it once, see how it feels.