So writing this post proved particularly hard for me this week. I started and stopped, deleted and typed, edited and rewrote. I’ve deleted so much of this particular blog post that I wondered at one point if I was going to be able to get it finished in time for Thursday’s publication.
The funny thing is that this topic is super important to me in my business life, so you’d think that I’d have had so much to say that I’d have breezed through getting this blog post put together. But I struggled. And I think that I struggled for the very reason that I just mentioned. I struggled because there is just so much that I want to say about this. My heart is full to overflowing with the messages that I have about our “business grace.”
My business consulting has become a business ministry that drives the work that I want to do in the world. It tugs on my heart every minute and brings me to God continually. I want to do what I am doing for God’s Glory, and I want powerful transformation to happen for people because of that. And I want all that because we desperately need it in the world of work.
When I say “grace,” I mean the Christian view of “unearned or undeserved favor.” Because of what I’ve seen and read, I hesitate to believe that most people will care to see that word in that way. Although 71% of Americans identify as Christian (as of 2017 Gallup research), I don’t need research to tell me that very very few of these self-identifying Christians live life as Christ desires us to live. I mean, let’s be realistic; that’s terribly hard for humans to accomplish. And when you toss in a business climate that prizes pretty much everything but what Christianity values, you create a pretty thick barrier to Christian grace.
That is exactly the barrier that I am working to break through. I don’t think that I’ll break it down, but one only needs a small hole in the wall to get through. If we can create a fissure, then we can touch one life at a time. Change happens that way. Grace is given that way.
Why separate business grace out from what we should be doing in our personal lives?
As I spend time with business people, I see more and more examples of where “business grace” is needed but not extended. Let’s be honest about why. Giving grace in our business lives is stinking hard because so many times business is not about giving undeserved or unearned favor. Business is about getting ahead, making money, closing the deal, improving the bottom line, getting a promotion, increasing our pay scale, looking good for the higher ups. Need I go on?
The fruits of our labor in business typically aren’t measured by how nice we were to people or how much we made others feel valued. They aren’t measured by how much we honored those around us or by the grace we showed a colleague in the face of rudeness. Although these might be noticed by some people, they are not what most drives business.
How do you quantify the gracious exit you made when your colleague told you to get the hell out of his face?
How are you going to show the value in your having shown grace to the customer who said more foul words than you knew existed?
Let me assure you that giving others a measure of grace will change you and bless them. It takes intention on your part to give it because, as I’ve said, so many times in the world of work you aren’t being confronted with very gracious situations.
We have to choose grace. We really have to humble ourselves to give grace to others. And many businesspeople find it hard to see how humility can be of benefit in most business climates.
Here are a few examples of how to give business grace:
- The next time your coworker rambles on about how she deserves more pay because she’s been there longer, remember that everyone needs to feel heard.
- When that customer comes in and lets you have it for something you had nothing to do with, remember that everyone has struggles that you don’t or can’t know.
- Even if you’ve been insulted by a colleague, give the compliment that he deserves.
- As you wonder what the heck your boss is even talking about, gather your curiosity and ask genuine questions to better understand her point.
I’ve built a business around how we can use our business communication better, and the giving of grace to others is a foundational part of the business strategy that I share with clients.
I am strongly convicted on this because of my past graceless years, but my heart and my life are proof of the power of doing this right. When we change how we treat others–and giving grace is how we can absolutely treat others correctly–we change who we are and what we see as important in our lives.
Sure, profit is important, but ultimately our most important business line item is grace.
#theimpactdirective is to join me in being humble so that we can give grace and change our lives and others’ lives along the way.
Thanks for being here.
Connie Benoit Sirois
Consultant | Writer | Speaker
We are called to love others as ourselves. Our communication gives us continual opportunities to do this. We should never miss a chance to honor others. I’d love for you to read about my mission.