The Mindful Leadership Blog

Just In! The F Word That Improves Productivity

October 19th, 2017



What’s hot?


A new study* indicates that Forgiveness is one of the most important leadership traits – a capability that improves well-being and productivity on the job.

So what?


Conflict at work is common – you get wronged by a colleague, get called out for something that was not your responsibility, or wrongly accused of causing a problem. When you harbor a grudge or seek revenge, it’s akin to being bitten by a snake and chasing after it to get even. It is not the snake bite that kills; it is the venom you send cursing through your system that does you in!

A lack of forgiveness has a negative impact on the individuals involved and on the organization as a whole. Holding on to negative feelings after conflict results in disengagement, a lack of collaboration, and aggressive behavior. Carrying a grudge is associated with increased stress, anger, hostility, and vengeful rumination that result in poor productivity.


What to do?


Practice forgiveness. It has been proven to increase productivity, decrease absenteeism and results in fewer mental and physical health problems.

Forgiveness is not weak, cowardly, or a retreat. It is a gift that requires strength and the ability to create transformational change. It is not easy to forgive a coworker – someone you have to be around all the time. You can demonstrate the forgiveness associated with extraordinary leadership when you:

1. Set the example and model forgiveness. A leader’s behavior often has a huge impact on organizational culture. When you forgive, you demonstrate a rare trait that others can model.
2. Apologize. Yes! Even though you are the one who has been wronged, you can always say “I’m sad/sorry/regretful that this happened.”
3. Acknowledge your role in the hurtful event. This has nothing to do with blame. It is simply accepting that you may have contributed – even if it is something as simple as not bringing up a problem earlier.
4. Offer the other person an opportunity to disclose his/her feelings about what happened.
5. Ask what it would take to ensure that the event doesn’t occur again.

* Study led by Loren Toussaint from the Department of Psychology at Luther College and published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.


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