What role does forgiveness have in leadership?
4th September 2022 • Driving Leadership • David Foster, Mike Metcalf & Shaun Peet
00:00:00 00:45:00

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What is the role of forgiveness in leadership?

We know that forgiveness is supposed to be a good thing for us personally, we learn “forgive and forget” when we are young, and maybe some of us have been through that.

But what about when you are a leader in business - how does forgiveness affect your leadership and your business results?

In this episode, we each comment on this question, touching on missed opportunities, the power of example and modeling, the cost of not forgiving others and yourself, and how forgiveness looks to others.

As with previous shows, each of us describes our position and the other two field questions and comments.

Our Opening Positions:

Mike: “Forgiveness is a necessary part of being happy.”

Shaun: “The challenge that trips leaders up is that forgiveness is weakness, its not - forgiveness is strength.”

David: “Leaders need to focus on forgiving themselves as much as forgiving others.”


MM: “That’s what we are talking about - isolating incidents, being able to forgive and not let them bleed into everything else.”

MM: “My grandmother’s voicemail message says that forgiveness is the key to happiness.”

MM: “There are all these things in life that can weigh you down and slow you down, if you are focused on how people have wronged you, you miss so many opportunities.”

SP: “Forgiving people is forgiving people who put their best foot forward. It’s not realistic to think that every single one of our employees is going to throw a no-hitter every single day.

SP: “Forgiveness is what enables people to keep showing up and making their best effort.”

SP: “Forgiveness fosters risk-taking.”

DF: “With more forgiveness, people have more creativity, more running room and they come up with better answers, and that just increases productivity.”

DF: “We’ve talked about all the ways that things can go sideways when you don’t forgive other people, but when you don’t forgive yourself, all those things still happen, they just all happen inside you.”

DF: “Leaders don’t think that it’s right to forgive themselves, they say things like ‘I should have known better’ but the people who work with you can tell that you don’t forgive, and that affects them and they imitate you.”

DF: “Whatever cognitive power you’re using to obsess about past failures, that’s power that you can’t use to figure out what you’re doing, to come up with new ideas and solutions.”




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