Bad Leaders Don’t Forgive

By Grant Wattie
President, N2Growth Australia

“The weak can never forgive.

Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”

~Mahatma Ghandi

Today I’m writing about a topic that is rarely talked about in the leadership domain, especially amongst corporate leaders. Now, before you poo-poo the idea, please allow me to explain further. 

In my opinion, forgiveness can’t be ignored, because to do so is to defy a natural law like gravity. Forgiveness is one of the primary foundational ways of being for extraordinary leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Jesus and Ghandi. 

In the movie Spiderman 3, Peter Parker dreams of murderous vengeance against the man who shot and killed his Uncle Ben. When the ooze of unforgiveness attaches itself to him, it changes his Spiderman costume to black. His Aunt May, a model of forgiveness, has very wise, prophetic words for him:  Vengeance is a poison that can “take us over and turn us into something ugly.”

 What Peter eventually discovers is that like his Spiderman suit, vengeance isn’t something that can be easily put on and taken off at will. Knowing he has to be free of it or be lost forever, he has enough insight to seek out a way to be freed by reaching out to God. 

The depiction of Peter’s desperate wrestling with the ooze suit doesn’t promote the notion that forgiveness comes easy. Once he’s finally free there is a ritualistic washing. Though the ooze suit is gone, vengeance still remains and is looking for another victim. 

Like Spiderman, I discovered how anger and unforgiveness can turn from servant to enslaver. A few years ago I was involved in a long, exhaustive dispute, and after some time I realised the personal and financial cost was too high. My anger and bitterness that had begun to consume and control my life began to take on a life of its own. I became highly anxious, I wasn’t able to sleep at night, and my health started to deteriorate. Like Spiderman, I barely resembled the contented and calm person I used to be. Finally, when there seemed to be no way out, I became very tired and extremely frustrated and felt like giving up. 

But somewhere in my desperation I remembered the verse “Settle matters quickly with your adversary … or it will cost you your last penny.” That strong inner voice helped me to let the issue go and forgive, and I immediately felt a huge sense of relief and freedom.

To be clear, forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting of the grievance or that any party is right or wrong. It means letting go of the ego’s need for revenge and to be right in order to make the other party wrong.

My experience of forgiveness involved voluntarily and intentionally replacing negative states of anger, fear and unforgiveness with a more constructive state associated with empathy. I was able to reach forgiveness through the following five steps: 

1.  Recall the hurt:  This was easy for me as I had yet to deny my daily suffering.

2.  Empathize:  I was able to empathise and see the issue from the other party’s viewpoint.

3.  Unselfishly offer the gift of forgiveness:  I remembered that many times I harmed or offended others who later forgave me.

4.  Publicly commit to forgive:  I told my family, my advisors and others that I had let the issue go.

5.  Gentle reminders:  To stop backsliding into anger, I had to constantly remind myself that I had forgiven.

There are many benefits of forgiveness. In his book Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman reveals that forgiving someone we’ve held a grudge against reverses the biological reaction. It lowers our blood pressure and heart rate, the levels of stress hormones, and lessens pain and depression. Many people also feel less hurt, and report a substantial drop in physical symptoms of trauma like poor appetite and sleeplessness. 

Forgiveness generates a restored sense of personal power that may pave the way for future reconciliation. 

Thanks much for reading this post. I invite you to share your comments on this topic as it applies to your personal life and workplace.

Lead With Your Heart Rather Than Your Head

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2Growth

Sometimes it’s better lead with your heart rather than your head, and I should know because I tried it. As some readers know I play piano for fun. Over the past six months I have been playing in a local senior center and recently was invited to play at a second senior facility. No big deal except this other facility has a tradition of inviting student musicians from the University of Michigan to play concerts. Such young people have exceptional talent; many will one day make their living playing professionally.

READ FULL COLUMN ON FORBES

Being A Courageous Leader

By Grant Wattie
President, N2Growth Australia

The Red Badge of Courage is a novel by Stephen Crane (1871–1900). Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound, a “red badge of courage,” to counteract his cowardice. When his regiment once again faces the enemy, Henry acts as standard-bearer.

Read More

There Is No Time To Hurry Up And Wait

By Damian D. “Skipper” Pitts
Chair, Organizational Development, N2Growth

Making any progress, process transformation or change across American communities and throughout the global business communities as usual is always hard and usually requires a significant investment of resources – people, finance and effort. So, whenever a leader or an organization adopts any new strategy, technology platform, methodology or approach, that adoption has to be driven by both a need and with leadership clarity.

Read More

The Five Strategic Rules of Leadership Clarity

By Damian D. “Skipper” Pitts
Chair, Organizational Development, N2Growth

In today’s leadership and strategy methodologies, leaders and organizations need to have five strategic rules of leadership clarity present in order to achieve greater outcomes of effort within their organizational designs. And, when they are successful, everyone will be able to manage complexity – the new complexities of business – without becoming complicated. The five strategic rules of leadership clarity are outlined as:

Read More

Michigan Goes Short-Term To Set Up Long-Term Success

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2Growth

When you are faced with a huge problem, sometimes a short-term solution might be the best option.

Case in point is Dr. Mark Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan, asking James Hackett to be interim athletic director after the resignation of David Brandon the previous AD. Brandon had been a lighting rod for criticism about the failure of the football program on the field and the negative publicity for the program off the field.

READ FULL COLUMN ON FORBES

Living The Values: A Lesson Learned From A Sales Rally

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2Growth

An organization knows that its values are authentic when employees put them into practice.

Recently I attended an annual sales meeting for Moorehead Communications, the owner of The Cellular Connection (TCC), a premium reseller for Verizon. The meeting took the form of a rally with presentations from senior executives as well as a healthy sprinkling of humorous videos. Day One closed with the presentation of the Employee of the Year Award. There were five finalists; each was interviewed on video. Watching what they said echoed the key messages of the CEO, Scott Moorehead, who had spoken earlier in the day.

Read More

Put ‘Moxie’ Into Your Leadership

By John Baldoni
Chair, Leadership Development, N2Growth

Once upon a time when we admired someone for their grit and determination we said they had moxie. It’s an old-fashioned word popularized in movies of the Thirties and Forties about those who battled the odds. It’s a word that has always stuck with me, and for that reason I decided to focus my newest book on what it means to have guts, gumption and perseverance –moxie!

READ FULL COLUMN ON FORBES

man, thumbs down, twisted leadership

Twisted Leadership

By Grant Wattie
President, N2Growth Australia

Never in the history of mankind has there been a greater need for leadership and yet there is a massive shortage. The reason is simple. Leadership is taught in universities and courses by intellectual ‘fu – k – wits’ who talk a good game, but don’t play. Today’s model by and large teaches about leadership with fancy theories. What’s missing is the practical application of how to actually be a leader.

Read More

John Baldoni Interviewed on ESPN

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has not spoken publicly since Sept. 9. Bob Ley talks with ESPN NFL business analyst Andrew Brandt and John Baldoni, Chair of N2Growth’s Leadership Development Practice about the commissioner’s recent lack of presence.

Watch the Interview

N2Growth Next Practices

Leading Transformational Strategy – Next Practices

By Mark Hefner
Global Practice Chair, Strategy Realization N2Growth

Not all business strategies require the same degree of change to be considered successful. Many are simply a continuation of an already established path and destination. Others identify change in some areas of the business but those changes do not represent a significant departure from the status quo. Some strategies however require transformational change. These strategies are usually required when companies are either in deep trouble or pursuing significant and new market opportunities.

Read More
Page 1 of 3212345...102030...Last »