Graceful leadership is the experience of a loving, connected compassion within yourself as you lead others. Now, in case you look at that sentence and just see a bunch of esoteric buzzwords taped together, I want to offer you this:
Those who are able to integrate grace into their leadership style will notice an immediate difference. And believe it or not, grace will become a vital part of how you achieve those coveted results, whatever they may be.
Graceful leadership actually has huge benefits in the real world.
Here are eight ways implementing grace will benefit you in your workplace.
1. Grace brings gratitude.
One of the fundamental steps on the road to graceful leadership is adopting a strong sense of gratitude. Gratitude is being able to express appreciation in all kinds of different ways that are appropriate to a person, situation, or thing.
The more gratitude you express, the more compassionate you become, both with yourself and with others. This creates the kind of workplace environment that draws people in and makes them want to stay. In fact, one study showed that companies that cultivate gratitude see increased levels of employee retention and productivity.
2. Grace brings transparency.
Because a key part of grace is knowing yourself and allowing yourself to be known, graceful leaders are able to align their walk with their talk. I believe this is the true meaning of transparency: it’s all about seeing where you are not aligned so you can locate the resources you need to get “unstuck” and move back into a place of integrity. Ultimately, transparent leaders are seen as trustworthy, which leads to far better relationships with key stakeholders: employees, customers and community.
3. Grace brings curiosity.
Grace allows you to let go of your judgements and assumptions. Rather than jumping to conclusions, a graceful leader operates from a place of curiosity. When a situation or conflict arises, grace allows leaders to ask open questions, which leads to better understanding and (ultimately) better decisions as you guide your company and employees forward.
4. Grace brings objectivity.
Grace has the ability to change individuals, teams, organizations, and the world. Part of the power of grace is that it has no agenda. It trusts that what’s supposed to happen is going to happen. This doesn’t mean it’s lazy or not committed.
The graceful leader uses discernment, sets boundaries, and strives toward the tenets of grace. Ultimately, though, grace surrenders to what is. This is a huge advantage, because there is no person on earth who is more powerful than someone who has nothing to lose. They are not attached to the outcome and can see things more clearly.
5. Grace brings empathy.
You cannot be graceful without empathy. When you are empathetic, you witness and appreciate another’s situation without picking it up and taking it with you. You do not try to own or dismiss their emotions; you simply behold them. You are present in the moment with the other person.
Recent studies have shown that though empathy is a foundational element of a good workplace, many leaders fail to integrate empathy into their workplace.
However, through grace, this key trait can become easier.
6. Grace brings adaptability.
Because graceful leaders aren’t attached to specific stories, they are able to step into the flow of adaptability. Adaptability is a huge advantage because the world of work is constantly, rapidly changing. In the current world of business, there is a lot of management that goes around change. Companies design whole new processes in order to make changes; when they identify something that isn’t working, they tear it down and completely rebuild it. With graceful leadership, business structures are more fluid. Instead of tearing down and rebuilding, the graceful leader pivots and adapts.
7. Grace brings innovation.
Becoming a graceful leader provides you the opportunity to work with others to find innovative solutions. As individuals, we are limited. Together, we can accomplish incredible feats. Think of any of humankind’s greatest achievements—the eradication of deadly diseases, putting a man on the moon, the creation of the internet. A team of people will always be more powerful than a single individual. Co-Creation is a process, a way of being that can also enlist other energy sources into it creation, such as nature.
8. Grace brings courage.
When we are fully in our grace as leaders, we are unshakable. We know when to lead from any position that is needed and how to get there. Storms will come, and we will navigate through stillness until it is time for action. We will charge forward to create safety for our team or let them lead and hold back to offer support as needed.
I believe grace is the most potent and powerful way of being. Grace is heart centered and aligned to you, your mission, and your belief system and allows all others to be in the same place without needing to make them wrong.
This article was adapted from the book, “The Power of a Graceful Leader,” written by Alexsys Thompson. Alexsys is a board-certified executive coach, member of the Forbes Coaching Council, creator of The Trybal Gratitude Journals, and a passionate advocate for graceful leadership through gratitude.