Grace is an attractive leadership quality – it’s pleasing and elegant. It exudes civility and kindness. A leader exhibiting grace seems calm and confident from the inside out. He or she is desirable to work with and be around. But it’s not so easy to show grace under pressure.
I can show grace pretty easily when everything’s going my way. I can be kind, brave, loyal, true, and the rest of the Boy Scout motto when things are looking up. But it’s harder when I’m having a bad day. And I’ve noticed the same thing in other people. Like the attentive saleswoman who doted all over me until she realized I wouldn’t be making a purchase that day. Suddenly her grace skills shut off completely.
That’s when you see the true nature of the person. When we’re stressed, hurried, tired, grumpy, conflicted, or Mercury’s in retrograde those skills can falter. But think of stress as a verb. These are the times that give us opportunities to show grace under pressure. Try these ideas:
- When an employee disappoints you with his performance on a project, talk with him about how to solve this issue next time.
- If somebody slows you down in traffic or the grocery aisle, instead of fuming about your time, consider how bad her day must be going and empathize with her for a moment.
- When the weather doesn’t cooperate with the outdoor plan you have, brainstorm ways to salvage the fun of the day without getting soaked.
- The next time you have trouble mastering a difficult process, realize that not everything can come easily to you.
- During a spousal disagreement, take three times as long to understand his perspective before jumping in with yours.
- If a customer complains about the quality of service he got from you, thank him sincerely for pointing it out to you so you can correct it in the future.
- When you are sick or if you feel the signs of aging, remember those are processes of life, and try to show some grace then, too.
Successful people can show grace under pressure. You can too, it just takes focus and practice. You haven’t peaked yet!
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