The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The most forgiving people

In one of her newsletters, Whitney Johnson described a key learning about parenting.

It’s as simple as this:

“The most forgiving people on the planet are our children. They just want us to try to do our best. For our sakes, as much as for theirs.

When we screw up, they want us to say we are sorry. They don’t want us to focus on the parent we could have been in the past. It simply doesn’t serve. They want us to be the parent they need this week, today!”

Employees might not be just as forgiving, but they too are.

To be able to see such a truth, leaders might have to give themselves the space to realize how confusing, emotional and messy leading can sometimes be. Relationships involve too much that can’t know to rest in the idea to know it all. Adding leadership to this just makes it more complicated as it requires knowing when the team needs freedom, when it needs guidance and when it needs authority.

A major task then becomes to see when others give us a new chance. It happens all day long and every time the person comes back with the same nagging detail, the same thing that creates discomfort. That is, every time they seem to have been unable to learn what we tried to convey.

It’s up to us to see what’s behind that repetition.

The repetition isn’t an invitation to solve a problem or to provide a solution. It is an invitation to hear and see something we’ve not been able to see yet. Whatever it is, it is important enough to come up regularly and to ask us to try again.


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