The Forgiveness Frame

I have noticed that many business owners and organisational leaders struggle in relationships with their managers and team members. This is especially true when a person has let them down a few times. When a team member  makes mistakes or fails to deliver on expectations many leaders become angry and disappointed and seem to take it as a personal insult. It is almost as if they are surprised that someone could let them down. This is where the Forgiveness Frame is so important.

Often their anger or disappointment then gets in the way of providing a helpful leadership response to the person who made the mistake. They can over-react in anger, or brood inwardly and start to treat the team member with a different attitude, so the atmosphere of their relationship changes.

This is where The Forgiveness Frame is such an imortant way of thinking for every successful leader.

The Forgiveness FRame

7 Keys About The Forgiveness Frame

  1. The Forgiveness Frame is a way of viewing people where you choose to believe that they are doing the best they can with what they have. So, any mistake or negative behaviour from a team member is an opportunity for training and NOT a moment for anger which often humiliates and closes down relationship.
  2. The Forgiveness Frame is a deliberate choice. It is something you bring to the relationship. It is a predisposition to believe in people and to expect the best of them. It helps good leaders bring out the best in their people.
  3. The Forgivesness Frame does not mean that you do not hold people accountable. Obviously if they continue to repeat the same mistakes without learning then there is a deeper issue. Good leaders are often able to help such repeat offenders by being direct and firm in an encouraging manner that builds confidence. Anger and fuming behind the scenes, writing people off in your mind, just confirms them in their sense of failure and makes them more nervous and more likely to make further mistakes.
  4. The Forgiveness Frame does not mean that you have to automatically trust people. People have to earn trust by being consistent over time. However they should not have to earn your forgiveness.  If you do not get angry and take it personally when mistakes are made but correct firmly and clearly people are more likely to take responsibility for their work and learn. In fact you will help create an innovative cutlure where they are not afraid to try new things or to ask questions if they are uncertain. Fear of making mistakes often creates a blame culture where people protect their own backs and play safe.
  5. The Forgiveness Frame releases you from a lot of anger. Some managers are so frustrated and often angry with their people. Leaders set the tone of a workplace. The Forgiveness Frame enables a leader to deal with themselves and more effectively lead their team.
  6. The Forgiveness Frame is based in a realisitic view of human nature. People will let you down. People have bad days. People make mistakes. People do not automatically get things. There is no need to take these mistakes and faults of others personally and assume that they are not trying or are against you in some way.
  7. The Forgiveness Frame is all about catching people out doing the right thing rather than pointing out the one wrong thing you have noticed.

It is much easier to point out the negative, to see the faults, to focus on mistakes. Much of our society is geared to the negative like that. Our minds have been trained to fear making mistakes. Mistakes are bad. People who make mistakes are bad. People who let me down are bad.

If we are honest, we ourselves make mistakes and let people down every day. If we are honest we would admit that we prefer to be encouraged rather than be berated for making a mistake. If we are honest we would really like to have someone who corrects us when we are wrong without anger or disappointment in their voice, but with the confident belief that we can get it right the next time. If we are honest our deepest fear is that we are not good enough and we love it when others encourage and affirm in a genuine manner.

If you want a happy workplace where people feel encouraged and empowered to grow and do their job with excellence and great personal commitment and ownership, then you need to change the predisposition of your mind to the Forgiveness Frame.


INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

Integrate: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle

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