Happy Thanksgiving from Aegis Learning

We are so incredibly thankful for all of you.   We appreciate greatly our customers, friends, vendors and program participants and on behalf of the entire team at Aegis Learning, Happy Thanksgiving!

Owning Our Decisions

At the end of the day, the decision was yours. Even with collaboration and using systems thinking, you made the call. The decision is part of your leadership record and legacy.

Effective leaders cannot run from their decisions. They cannot blame others. They cannot blame the economy. They cannot hedge or try to escape accountability. It was your decision.

When right on target a decision is a glorious thing. Your hard work paid off and you chose the correct course of action. Everything fell into place nicely and the return was better than anticipated. It is pretty easy to own that type of decision.

The harder decisions to own are the clunkers. The ones that don’t work out so well or the choice that just did not pan out. Those are hard to swallow and to have your name attached.

Effective leaders own decisions that are both good and bad. With good decisions, the leader will share credit with the team, those that provided valuable input and any stakeholder that gave clues about outcomes or consequences.

When the decision is a poor choice you are on your own buddy. Can’t blame the data or any person. It is all you.

With bad decisions, there are a couple of additional decision points that come into play. The poorest choice is to defend and continue to cheerlead for a bad decision. This is simply digging a bigger hole and drawing more attention and potentially, criticism to a bad decision.

The effective leader must admit the mistake and work diligently to fix it. Simply say that you made a mistake, you are sorry and you will get it fixed. Use plenty of personal pronouns to make sure the ownership of the decision is clear. You may not get beaten up for a bad decision but you will certainly loose credibility if you try to run from it.

When looking at a poor decision, first check and see if you gave yourself enough time to analyze and diagnose the situation and all of the potential impacts. This is the most common reason for poor decisions. Then, retrace the system thinking and seek a different and wider scope of input that focuses on why the first decision failed and that the issue still exists. Never compound a poor decision with a rash or arbitrary fix that is simply designed to save face.

Tim Schneider is the founder of Aegis Learning and has been working with teams and leaders for 25 years.   He generates results, impact and his sole focus is your success.

He is the author of The Ten Competencies of Outstanding Leadership and Beyond Engagement and a widely sought speaker, training facilitator and individual development coach.

What is Showing Up?

Unlocking a Heart for Leadership

This is a multi-part series of excerpts from Unlocking a Heart for Leadership, a soon to be released book by Tim Schneider.  This book and series examines the powerful methods to add heart based (affective/feeling) approaches to your leadership and life.  An unlocked heart is the third facet of full leadership and personal realization.  

What is Showing Up?

“What you resist persists” Rick Warren

One more quick self-check to see if your heart needs to be unlocked. Quick but complicated to get our heads around.

Look at and spend some time thinking about what is showing up in your life. Is it really what you want and desire or are there elements of dissatisfaction or evenly some deeply rooted pieces where you are not living as you desire?

To be specific, examine who is in your life. Are you pulling great people around you or are you a bug light for toxic and negative humans? Are the relationships you have mutually supportive and caring or is it one way only? These are tough questions but necessary as you move forward to unlock your emotional power.

Take a moment and reflect on your last three or four thoughts. Were they positive, upbeat and encouraging or were they dark and negative? What is the ratio of good thoughts to negative or bad thoughts? This one is a pretty good sign that there are some unresolved issues blocking the emotions that drive your thought patterns.

Another very specific view is about obstacles you are facing. Have you done everything right in an area but the results are not coming? Are you working very hard and have very little to show for it? Have you been passed over for a promotion? Turned down for a loan needed to go into business for yourself? Are you wondering what is holding that back and preventing that success?

Weather consciously known to you or not, yes answers to the above reveal some unresolved issues you are carrying in your heart and emotional composition. Most common among those are:

1. Unrepaired relationships

2. Ungrieved loss

3. Motivations for your actions that are not rooted in good intention

4. Projections to the world that are not what you want or hope (negative perceptions by others)

Have you ever watched news accounts of crime victims reaching out and connecting with the perpetrators of their pain? Although grotesque to think about, these are perfect examples of why relationships, even the most fleeting, need to have some closure, questions answered and some point of clearing.

Unrepaired relationships pull consciously and subconsciously on all of us. Blocking someone out of your life is not repair and simply serves to bury the hurt and block deeper into our subconscious, making it harder to heal. As we all suffer disconnect with others, the heart healthy works to repair while the emotionally unpowered seek to bury the disconnect and simply forget. Quick little note here: you won’t really forget. It may move away from the top of your mind but never out of your subconscious thoughts and emotional composition. As we move through the tools and practices in this book, you will have a pathway to repair these relationships, or at minimum, attempt to repair them. This is an area that we will not sugarcoat in any form. This is difficult and some relationships have decades of estrangement.

Another hard examination is the ungrieved losses in our lives. Very personally, this one weighed on me for many years and there are still a couple of losses that need some grieving time. It wasn’t until years after I lost my dad and mom, did I fully mourn their loss and clear that heart blockage. There is a likelihood that you too are carrying some ungrieved losses in your life. They don’t need to be a death and could come in the form of a lost marriage, failed business or even a missed opportunity.

Like with relationships, our losses cannot simply be buried and we cannot rely on time to heal these wounds. Time blunts some of the pain but the loss remains in our hearts and subconscious minds creating blocks to our success and our ability to capitalize on our heart and emotional power. It will become a matter of finding, acknowledging and then finally grieving these losses to move on successfully.

Your motivations and projections will be examined in detail later in this book but suffice it to say that they drive a big part of our emotional healthy and heart power. When motives are pure and positive, those types of results will follow. When motives are less than pure, the results that show up in your life will reflect that as well.

Projections are the same. You will attract exactly what you project. The unhealthy elements (and people) in our lives appear because of something we have projected to the world. We certainly don’t mean to do that but there is something buried in our emotional composition that keeps driving our projected behaviors. It could be very old or something deeply rooted in a difficult experience. Only you know and it is up to you to find out about it.

Tim Schneider is the founder of Aegis Learning and has been working with teams and leaders for 25 years.   He generates results, impact and his sole focus is your success.

He is the author of The Ten Competencies of Outstanding Leadership and Beyond Engagement and a widely sought speaker, training facilitator and individual development coach.

Leading Leaders

Leading other leaders. Some people compare it to herding cats. Some people describe the “which way did they go? I must know because I am their leader” paradox. Others will tell you that it is the most frustrating, but yet most rewarding part of the leadership equation.

Dr. Paul Hersey probably best described the phenomenon of leading other leaders in his work on Situational Leadership. Dr. Hersey clearly identified different skill sets related to managing and leading people based on their skill set and based on the particular leadership situation. His groundbreaking work identified some of the possible disconnects when leaders utilize the same skill set to manage leaders as they do when they supervise entry level workers. In his model, when leading leaders, you can no longer be directive, use a cookie cutter approach and overly define the process details and steps.

Of the additional tactics to lead leaders, fuzziness may be the most important. Although we may have perfect clarity on an end result and how it looks and feels, we must allow our emerging leaders the opportunity to add their clarity. This is an extremely important step that transfers ownership of a project or idea. If we fill in all of the details, it will always be our idea and our process. If we allow our subordinate leaders to fill in the details, the process becomes theirs. It also has great impact to stimulate their creative and systemic thinking.

A subset tactic that is closely related to fuzziness is polluting the soup. Some of you have heard this presented in just a little different way but the message is the same. Polluting the soup is leading with your idea and then requesting other suggestions and input. Sounds okay on the surface, but unfortunately, when your idea is articulated, it will greatly diminish the other input from subordinate leaders. The effective leader will utilize the greatly unappreciated skill of keeping quiet and letting the subordinate leader or leaders play the ideas and suggestions.

Prepare for the curiosity of three year olds. If you have a problem in answering questions and responding to the “why” query, you may not be ready to lead other leaders. If your response pattern includes “because I said so”, “because it has always been that way” or even “it is what it is”, you will need to change your approach. New and emerging leaders will question and challenge. Like kids, it is what they do. Brushing it off produces a future eerie silence that replicates the status quo. Answering, as best you can, produces innovative leaders that balance the possibilities with the realities.

The presentation, even subtly, of opportunities to subordinate and emerging leaders is a great way to evaluate talent and even test drive and motivation. When an opportunity is presented, do the leaders run with it or do they require pushing? Do they pick up on the clues and react without any follow-up needed? Do they personalize the project or idea? Do they continually run it back to you for validation or do they shoot for the end result? Lots of questions yet the answers become very telling about the skill set and readiness of the leader that you are guiding.

Feeding opportunities also allows you to see if any of your leaders are willing to get a little dirty. It is very telling when an emerging leader sacrifices comfort and personal vanities in order to achieve the objectives of the opportunity.

Another critical element in leading leaders is allowing them the opportunity to fail. By far and away this is the most challenging facet for many of us. To allow someone the chance to stub their toe is pretty priceless and more valuable than any other type of learning. Even with our experience and depth of knowledge, until they try it their way, they will never be satisfied. It takes a great deal of leadership maturity to allow others to fail and be there to pick them up and restore their desire to achieve.

Tim Schneider is the founder of Aegis Learning and has been working with teams and leaders for 25 years.   He generates results, impact and his sole focus is your success.

He is the author of The Ten Competencies of Outstanding Leadership and Beyond Engagement and a widely sought speaker, training facilitator and individual development coach.

Laugh, Play and Have Fun

Unlocking a Heart for Leadership

This is a multi-part series of excerpts from Unlocking a Heart for Leadership, a soon to be released book by Tim Schneider.  This book and series examines the powerful methods to add heart based (affective/feeling) approaches to your leadership and life.  An unlocked heart is the third facet of full leadership and personal realization.  

Laugh, Play and Have Fun

“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” Michael Jordan

The power of laughter, fun and play as curative for the heart and soul is well documented. And the anecdotal evidence is equally as powerful. When you are laughing, having fun and just generally enjoying yourself, your emotional and physical energy is higher.

Enjoyment also has a tremendous ability to unlock desire to have more fun and an amazing side effect is that it will attract people to you like nothing else. People love to be around the smiling and fun and can’t wait to get away from the grim and downtrodden.

Before we engage more fun, let’s track back and see what happened to it. Because we all started with it and it was encouraged and promoted early on but sadly, we lost it. As children, our parents cooed when we laughed. People even tickled us to evoke that laughter. Everyone loves a giggly baby (the internet is full of them) and that behavior is rewarded and replicated.

As we begin school, play and laughter is programmed into our day. We have play breaks and physical education classes that are designed to produce active fun. Yes, not all memories of PE are great but generally, there was a lot of smiles and play.

Then adulthood crept in and we have been told to “settle down”, “be quiet”, “stop grinning” and then of course, “act professionally”. Somehow being an adult and productive member of society was equated to being joyless and losing our sense of fun and desire to play.

Fast forward to now and we see adults that struggle to identify what they enjoy or the last time they had a frolicking belly laugh. Play is no longer programed and we find it only as we have time. And maybe worse yet, we participate in hyper-competitive or super-physical activities labeled as fun but really lacking any joy beyond survival.

Let’s Find Some Fun

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” Albert Einstein

To really unlock the power of fun, we must acknowledge that our society and workplaces are not very conducive to unbridled fun and the demands on our time and energy are tight so we must make fun programed again. Just like grade school.

Adding the practice of fun to your heart and emotional composition power will require:

1. Create a list of things you really enjoy doing. Nothing you must do or feel accomplished about but that you just really like.

2. Create a list of those things that make you laugh and smile. This can include people, media (movies, television episodes, YouTube videos), books, cartoons and the like.

3. Identify, and journal, the last time you experienced laugh-out-loud joy and the last time you experienced unrestricted fun.

4. Now add a time block of something fun and laugh provoking per day. Give yourself permission to take a laugh break. One of the best spot for this is at mid-day during lunch. Have a cartoon or funny video queued up and give yourself the joy of laughter to keep your day rolling along nicely.

5. Schedule a fun activity each week. Again, nothing that should be done but a block of time devoted to pure enjoyment. This could be adventure, travel, reading, a movie, comedy club trip or just anything that is for your joyful pleasure.

6. Note in your journal both the change in your emotional composition and change in your facial expression.

Tim Schneider is the founder of Aegis Learning and has been working with teams and leaders for 25 years.   He generates results, impact and his sole focus is your success.

He is the author of The Ten Competencies of Outstanding Leadership and Beyond Engagement and a widely sought speaker, training facilitator and individual development coach.

Video Library – Difficult People

Signs that Heart/Emotional Work is Needed

Unlocking a Heart for Leadership

This is a multi-part series of excerpts from Unlocking a Heart for Leadership, a soon to be released book by Tim Schneider.  This book and series examines the powerful methods to add heart based (affective/feeling) approaches to your leadership and life.  An unlocked heart is the third facet of full leadership and personal realization.  

Symptoms Telling Us We Need Heart Work

“The only thing greater than the power of the mind is the courage of the heart” John Nash

Our world gives us plenty of clues when it is necessary and time to work on unlocking emotional and heart power. Some of those clues are right-between-the-eyes blunt force and some are a bit subtler. Examine these and see where you are at and see if there is indeed work to be done to unlock your heart.

• Stuck in a low-level motivation (more on that later in this section)
• Operating from fears (more on that as well)
• Anxiety and edginess
• Frequent use of sarcasm or snarky comments
• Need to be the center of attention often or always
• Lack of focus or persistence with tasks and projects
• Lack of physical energy or a drained feeling
• Avoidance of conflict
• Strained relationships at work or in your personal life
• Procrastination and avoidance
• Reluctance to or fighting of change
• Inability to sustain the use of new skills or approaches
• Low general demeanor or surliness towards work and people at work
• Stressed out
• Negativity and pessimism for the future
• Poor, snappy or edgy verbal tone
• Dour and sour facial expressions
• Lack of genuine human empathy
• Overly judgmental of others
• Isolation from others or activities you enjoy
• Blaming others for challenges and failures

There is also a need to look at the recurring patterns in your life. Things like these point to a need to tap into the energy of your heart and emotions:

• Repeated failures in business or bouncing from one career path to another frequently
• Easily disenfranchised with organizations and people
• Novelty of new things wears off quickly
• Complaints from team members that have similar themes
• Trying to change others to adapt to you
• Trail of relationship casualty and failed interpersonal relationships

None of these are devastating by themselves and we all certainly spend time in these spots from time to time. The one thing to watch for is frequent occurrences of these symptoms and how long they last. When they occur regularly, it is time to unlock the power of your heart.

Motivationally Stuck

Dr. Abraham Maslow’s groundbreaking and baseline work on human motivation describes five levels of needs. This Hierarchy of Needs demonstrated that lower level needs must be satisfied first before higher tier needs can be met. As a person moves up the pyramid of needs, their motivation increases until they reach self-actualization. This stage is the highest level of motivation and all lower level needs, physiological, security, social, and self-esteem are being met. Quite simply, the more needs are being met, the higher the motivation until pinnacle is achieved.

So, what happens when someone is stuck in a lower level plateau and doesn’t rise? Their motivation levels cap off at that level as well. Think of this example:

A person is constantly straining against their resources to make ends meet. There is consistent worry and pessimism about the ability to pay bills and ever live in abundance or have discretionary spending ability.

In this example, being motivationally stuck in physiological needs will have a dramatic impact on this person’s ability to achieve more in life. When constantly worrying about money, opportunity will be passed by, relationships will be strained, self-esteem will suffer and the heart of this person will become tainted on money. Their brain will follow suit and this person will openly obsess about money, accumulation of things, and savings.

One example that we tend to hear a great deal in organizations related to being stuck on security needs:

Someone is always talking about the number of years until the retirement account will pay them what they think they need to survive in their senior years. Rather than looking forward to being able to make a difference, they are counting down to when the retirement savings will allow them some mystical security.

This stuck point can be devastating to effectiveness and has a significant adverse impact on motivations and the desire to change, move forward and thrive. This motivational stuck is all about just surviving another day, week, month or year.

Another example that becomes common:

The person that cannot do anything alone or be alone for more than two seconds. There is constant insecurity about people and a need to be connected to someone or groups of people all the time.

This example points to a deeply unmet social need (Maslow’s third tier) and by not being comfortable alone, they will never be able to achieve comfort with others and truly meaningful relationships.

Looking for Stuck Points

We all get stuck momentarily and there is certainly nothing wrong with twice a month fretting a bit about where paychecks went or spending a bit of time being lonely or even wondering about what the future may bring. All normal little stops for our brain and emotional composition.

Where motivational stuck becomes dangerous is when we spend a bunch of our time and energy there. Look at, and get feedback about what you talk about or even obsess about. Really think about where you are motivationally and strive always to seek the next level on the pyramid.

Tim Schneider is the founder of Aegis Learning and has been working with teams and leaders for 25 years.   He generates results, impact and his sole focus is your success.

He is the author of The Ten Competencies of Outstanding Leadership and Beyond Engagement and a widely sought speaker, training facilitator and individual development coach.

The Yin and Yang of Organizational Performance

Develop a Balance Between People and Process for Success

Leadership, Customers, Strategy, Knowledge Management, Workforce and Operations are the primary components of an organizational management system (The Baldridge Performance Framework). The approach, deployment and integration of these components vary greatly from business to business. Take a moment and think about what these components look like in your organization, and how (or if) they work together.

In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang describes how seemingly opposite forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent. The components of the Yin and Yang represent perfect balance. If we apply the Yin and Yang approach to our management system, the components will be divided into two primary categories: People and Processes.

Processes (Yin)
• Strategy
• Knowledge Management
• Operations

People (Yang)
• Leadership
• Workforce
• Customers

But are both “sides” of the management system considered equally? As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, I was taught that processes should be the focus because they comprise around 80-85% of organizational problems. But if you don’t hire and train people correctly…or you don’t have the right leadership in place to guide those people…or if don’t know what makes your customers are happy, all your focus on process is for naught and the “balance” of your organization will be off. And, conversely, if you are only focusing on people and not integrating and improving your processes, the organization will not have structure and controls and, therefore, never be able to achieve its goals and objectives.

Many business cultures and leaders choose one side or the other of the Yin and Yang to focus on. They are either “touchy-feely” and focused on the “people” aspects, or they are extremely policy and procedure driven and focus on the “process” aspects. Some folks are more comfortable with structure and others are more comfortable with what I like to call “the feels”.

The Yin and Yang of Organizational Performance helps us visualize and remember that people and processes are interconnected and, therefore, both “sides” should be a priority. It’s a “50/50”, balanced proposition that will help improves organizational performance. Only when leaders focus on ALL six components of the system (Leadership, Customers, Strategy, Knowledge Management, Workforce and Operations) can they truly begin to improve. And the better these systems function and integrate with one another, the more high-performing an organization will become.

Polly Walker is a talented facilitator, coach and expert in process improvement.  As the chief innovation officer for Aegis Learning, Polly produces many of the new ideas and creative solutions for workplace learning programs and their delivery.

Ms. Walker has two master’s degrees and has worked with some of the biggest client projects for Aegis Learning.  She is also our Townie and constantly optimistic.

Freedom Through Forgiveness (Part 2)

Unlocking a Heart for Leadership

This is a multi-part series of excerpts from Unlocking a Heart for Leadership, a soon to be released book by Tim Schneider.  This book and series examines the powerful methods to add heart based (affective/feeling) approaches to your leadership and life.  An unlocked heart is the third facet of full leadership and personal realization.  

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”  Mahatma Gandhi

Who and What to Forgive

Showing my age, I remember Schoolhouse Rock on Saturday mornings. A noun is a people, place or thing. Similarly, forgiveness eligibility has the same dynamic. It can be a person, event or yourself.

The easiest to identify population in which to grant forgiveness is other people. Someone does you wrong, they become eligible for forgiveness. This becomes the straightforward process of connecting a hurt to the person inflicting hurt. Angry because you had to correct mistakes of another team member is simple to connect to that team member. Upset because your spouse barked at you can be pinned directly on him or her. Anyone that you attribute wrong or hurt to should be considered for forgiveness.

Events should also be forgiven. These are those times and situations in our lives in which things went wrong. We learned the lessons, hopefully not repeating any of them and now is the time to forgive and move forward in full heart and emotional health. Examples of event forgiveness includes blocks of work and career time, stretches of personal relationships and even single choices made by you or others. Stop talking regret and grant freeing forgiveness.

The hardest forgiveness to grant will be to you. That’s right. Forgiving yourself for your mistakes, poor choices and events in which you were responsible. Many people can grant real forgiveness to others easily but yet hold deep frustrations, regrets, disappointments and worse about themselves. Yes, you caused something bad. You paid the price. Now is time to forgive yourself and get this ugly, caked mud off your heart.

First Time Clearing

The first clearing of past wrongs, including your own, will be the most difficult. Some of these people and event have been living on your heart and influencing your actions for years or even decades. This first event will not be easy and it will not be quick. Depending on the depth of hurt and wrong, you may have to go back and re-forgive a couple of times to truly have it cleared.

As a practice, use this process the first time around:

1. Note three to five people or situations that you need to forgive in your journal.

2. Leave the list alone for a couple of days.

3. Include thoughts of who has wronged you, what dragging baggage you are carrying around, and any situations which still bring you pain or angst, in your daily meditation. Let the thoughts flow freely to you in this setting.

4. Examine the list a second time and add another three to five people or situations that need clearing forgiveness. Ensure that at least two and hopefully more of these are forgiveness of self.

5. Leave the list alone for another couple of days.

6. Take a final look at the list and ensure you have most of who and what needs to be forgiven, including those things you need to grant yourself forgiveness.

7. Next to each item, list a date certain in which you will forgive that person or event or you and release the negativity associated with it. The first date should be within the next day and it should also be the simplest or easiest situation to forgive. The guy that cut you off in traffic and caused a minor irritation should be at the top of the list compared to complex life situations and people that have wronged you greatly. If you are not yet prepared to set a date for all items on your list, that is okay too. And some dates can be out there for a bit of time to allow yourself the reconciliation and readiness to let it go.

8. On the date listed, add the words of forgiveness to your daily meditation. In the simplest form, it would sound like “Today I forgive XXXXX and promise to never let this event influence me” or “Today I forgive XXXXX and promise this event will never influence me again”.

9. Congratulate yourself on this step. Be pleased with you. This is a big thing.

10. After your meditation, say the above aloud and cross it off your forgiveness list. Continue until the list is gone.

The Forgiveness Practice

Beyond the initial clearing described above, events and wrongs happen regularly and need to be forgiven. The quicker you can make the event/person-forgiveness cycle, the healthier your heart and emotional intelligence. With this junk cleared regularly and daily, the room for great emotions, attitude and energy is almost limitless.

During the quiet and clearing portion of your meditation, search for those people or situations that may be weighing on you. Repeat the action steps above and forgive quickly.

As this process becomes a habit, you will be able to grant forgiveness on the fly and make it a natural part of daily self-care.

Tim Schneider is the founder of Aegis Learning and has been working with teams and leaders for 25 years.   He generates results, impact and his sole focus is your success.

He is the author of The Ten Competencies of Outstanding Leadership and Beyond Engagement and a widely sought speaker, training facilitator and individual development coach.

Freedom Through Forgiveness (Part 1)

Unlocking a Heart for Leadership

This is a multi-part series of excerpts from Unlocking a Heart for Leadership, a soon to be released book by Tim Schneider.  This book and series examines the powerful methods to add heart based (affective/feeling) approaches to your leadership and life.  An unlocked heart is the third facet of full leadership and personal realization.  

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”  Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiveness provides us with:

•  Peace from past conflicts, issues and challenges
•  Closing resolution with people and situations
•  Space in our emotions and heart for positive thoughts and feelings
•  Freedom from the burden of past hurt
•  Capacity to allow people to grow and overcome their transgressions against you
•  Ability to create relationships in the current state and not bogged down by the past
•  Enhanced personal resilience

With gratitude, forgiveness is one of the biggest cures to restoring the heart to a point of love and your attitude to a consistent positive state. The mud-freeing that occurs when forgiveness is practiced for the first time and then consistently thereafter is nothing short of amazing.

What is Forgiveness

Often forgiveness is misunderstood and associated with forgetting. You hear things like “just let it go” or “forget about it” and that is a common misconception. We humans do not have an erase button or delete key to remove a memory. The memory stays. Forgiveness gives us the power in how the memory is framed and the capacity to create positive overwrites of the prior memory.

Forgiveness is also not some grand spectacle where the person who wronged you is involved. Real forgiveness is quiet and there is really no need to share with the person being forgiven. Many times, the person who wronged you forgot about the event long ago or doesn’t even have an ounce of awareness about it. This is all about you and not about anyone else.

For our purposes, forgiveness will be the solemn promise and vow that the event or person we are forgiving will not influence any future interaction or event. So, by forgiving someone, I am not promising to forget it happened. I am promising that whatever the past event, I will not allow it to change how I deal with that person moving forward.

In the simplest analogy possible, someone cuts you off on the freeway during a long commute. Forgive them quickly and you return to safe and alert driving very quickly. Failure to forgive that other motorist and your attention is focused on harsh judgement of him or her, your anger and perhaps even revenge. Here, failure to forgive distracts from the ability to drive safely and could have dire consequences.

Accountability and Forgiveness

In a working environment, the most common objection to the practice of forgiveness comes from the apparent exclusivity of accountability and forgiveness. As a leader or person of success mindset, accountability is a core principle. Team members must be accountable for their performance and behavior. Vendors must be accountable for their promises of delivery. Partners must be accountable for the terms of the agreements they executed to work with you.

And all of that is true. Accountability is a foundation of success and leadership and must not be compromised.

Far too often in a business environment, accountability becomes a lifetime proposition. Someone commits a transgression, makes a mistake or other has some significant challenges and sadly, that becomes their career-long legacy. In my work as an executive coach and with other teams of leaders, the phenomenon of someone being on a radar screen for a past transgression is extremely common as is the failure to provide any pathway off that radar screen. Yes, that person made a terrible mistake three years ago and you held them accountable for it. Now is the time to stop defining them and judging them on that mistake and allowing them the chance to recover and giving yourself the freedom from this baggage as well.

Accountability should be swift and fair. Behind that, forgiveness should be equally swift.

The equation of workplace and leadership forgiveness will look like this:

•  Judge and asses an event, performance or behavior
•  Use defined accountability tools such as corrective feedback, documented discipline, or even termination of relationship
•  Grant forgiveness and not have the event affect future interactions with that team member or other person

Tim Schneider is the founder of Aegis Learning and has been working with teams and leaders for 25 years.   He generates results, impact and his sole focus is your success.

He is the author of The Ten Competencies of Outstanding Leadership and Beyond Engagement and a widely sought speaker, training facilitator and individual development coach.