The saga with the improperly-painted bookcase has continued all week as my friend attempts to undo my mess and create a finished product to greet my weekend houseguest. In my aim to help, I made the situation exponentially worse for him – yet never once has he uttered a cross word about the scenario.

My lesson — in addition to embedding in my brain that you need to “prepare the surface” – has been a reminder about the incredible power of grace. Given the amount of repair time invested, he would be fully justified in blurting out unprintables but he has calmly approached the task at hand, never once blaming or scolding or making me feel stupid (I did that myself!)

It has been a powerful example that providing help instead of shame and focusing on improving the situation instead of reliving it goes a long way toward enhancing both the relationship and the outcome. The next time someone makes a mistake or creates a problem that impacts you, transform the experience into something positive by responding with grace.

Thanks, Curt!

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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