The idea for this site first took root this past spring (2014) as I was driving from Sarasota to Tampa, Florida. I was on the way to the airport to catch a flight home to Virginia having just completed a thought-provoking seminar on leadership coaching. As I drove I listened to a channel on satellite radio and the commentators were discussing a conflict within the family of one of the speakers. The speaker, the mother in this family, said something to the effect of, “I tried to lead with mercy.” I found that statement to be very powerful … what a great name for a blog or a newsletter I thought.
The phrase also kept creeping into my mind at work, which seemed a bit odd. As a sinner, I (try to) thank the Lord for His mercy every day … but that’s faith, not business I told myself. As a parent, I (generally) show mercy to my children … but that’s parenthood, not business I said. As a business executive, mercy is not generally in my daily vernacular of profit, revenue, and billable hours … that’s business and not a place for the feint of heart looking for mercy and compassion.
But why can’t business be a place for mercy? I believe it can, should be, and am finding that in some places, it already is. So with the premise that mercy does indeed have a place in business – and successful businesses at that – I set out on a journey to make a case for leading with mercy. I suspect my journey will – it already has – lead me to three groups of business people and leaders. There is the group that already believes that mercy, compassion, empathy, and a host of other synonyms have an important and impactful place in business. There is also likely the group that thinks “leading with mercy” sounds great in theory but isn’t convinced you can run a successful, profitable business with such a soft approach. Finally, I’m quite sure there’s a group that thinks the idea of mercy in business is just another crazy notion that has no place in C-suites, board rooms, or leadership development. I hope all will join the conversation and I’m sure all have valid observations, experiences, and contributions.
I can hear the collective cringe of executives, hard-core MBA students, and executive coaches everywhere – great, another feel good, theoretical blog about leadership. Even my wife, who believes strongly in mercy and a business professional herself, said to me, “What the heck is leading with mercy … I thought you were going to write about something useful?”
Guilty as charged. It’s my sincere hope that this blog will make you feel good (while being useful). In my own career as a business executive and executive coach I know theory without results is interesting but not much more in practice. Yes, this blog is about leadership. Less leadership theory and more about the leadership that I have studied, been subject to, and executed (not always well) in over 20 years as a cadet and student, soldier, manager, coach, and executive.
And so, with a little nudging from my wife (despite her misgivings on the topic) and a few others, I decided to start this blog. My hope is you’ll join me in this journey and that we can together explore topics relevant to leaders and leadership development, executive coaching, and other related topics.
Copyright © 2014 Robert E. Goodson Jr. All rights reserved.
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