The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but a person of understanding draws them out.
There are many ways to look at grace. You could say that grace comes from an act of forgiveness, and it does. Or, positionally, it is seen as “unmerited favor,” and it is. But grace when it comes to leadership is an act on the part of the leader. A leader filled with grace does something.
A Leader—a Servant Leader—draws people out. They see the potential that lies within each person and they uncover it, give life to it, bring it out in the open, and exploit it. They maximize people’s strengths.
For too long we’ve hired people to fit an exact job description and in the process, passed by so much talent. Certainly, we have a certain job function to fill but grace expands, has flexibility, and is willing to let the metamorphoses within the lives of the people they employ happen.
Over the years, I have observed organizations that have passed by a lot of talent, turned a blind eye to a lot of experience, and were tone deaf to wisdom that lie within the people in their midst. The positional structure of our organizations often hide talent. A former VP is a training manager, an entrepreneur who owned a retail establishment is now waiting tables, an organizational design specialist is now a manager of a retail store, and so on. It’s like they have been type-cast into a role in which only use a fraction of their talent. The organization doesn’t see or acknowledge the VP, Entrepreneur, or Organizational Design specialist; rather they only see the training manager, waiter, and retail store manager.
Grace at work draws the best out of a person. Those in leadership put away their hierarchal pride and their positional prejudice and make room for the experience and talent that is within their employees to rise up and be used in its greatest capacity.
Grace from a leadership point of view doesn’t corner people into the box called “their job,” but rather opens the door so they can enter the white space of the organization in which their wisdom, talents and experience can be used.
Here’s a challenge for you to consider: what if, the leadership team within your organization didn’t just have those with an executive title, but welcomed in those who have the experience and wisdom of the past? What if they rotated in former VP who is now a training manager, the former owner of a retail store who is now waiting tables, or the former Organizational Design specialist who is not a manger of a retail store?
Radical? Maybe. Very unconventional? Yes. Grace in action? Absolutely. And that what Servant Leaders do.