Has your trust ever been broken? I’m sure it has. In fact, I would bet at some point you have answered a resounding “YES, someone has broken my trust!”
How did it affect you? How did it affect that relationship? How did it affect your future relationships?
Many years in my past, I dealt with a situation where a colleague violated my trust. We were both new teachers at the same school. We taught the same classes and over time, we developed a friendship. So what happened?
Because we were new and taught the same classes, we would occasionally work together preparing class material such as lesson plans, study guides, handouts, etc. One day, I discovered my colleague was using my materials without my consent.
How did this happen? My colleague’s student assistant, who was also a student in my class, was giving my colleague my notes and handouts. My colleague then copied and used them in class the next day!
As one might think, when I discovered what my colleague was doing, I was very upset. In fact, I was furious! My colleague had taken advantage of my student as well as violated my trust. Of course, I ended our relationship.
However, I still had another choice to make. My choice was to hold on to my anger, or to forgive my colleague.
According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness is a “decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.” Therefore, forgiveness is a choice.
What are the personal benefits of forgiveness? The Mayo Clinic research identified the following eight positive benefits of forgiveness:
- Improved relationships
- Greater emotional well-being
- Reduced anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Stronger immune system
- Healthy heart
- Higher self-esteem
Forgiveness extends your life! Yes! According to Toussaint, Owen & Cheadle, your ability to forgive reduces the risk for all-caused mortality.
Are there benefits for leadership forgiveness? Absolutely! Why? Because we are emotional beings who carry our feelings into our workplace. If we are harboring grudges and anger it affects how we interact with others.
Although it took me some time, I chose to forgive my colleague. Why? Forgiveness is for your benefit, not others.
Forgiveness is not absolution. It is letting go of the past and the emotions connected to the situation. Therefore, leaders must make the choice to forgive.
Have you mastered the choice of forgiving?
Dr. Kim Moore
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