I have a sign on the wall in my office that says I hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection, and I try to apply that as I lead and mentor and as a VA.
I believe that grace is a decision. If we are conscious about it and intentional, it becomes a skill. A soft skill, yes, but a skill.
The grace I am speaking of is defined as a disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency, or a temporary exemption, a reprieve. Great relationships demand a level of grace that takes effort and nurturing. Mentoring and leading new VA’s can need a focus in this area.
I absolutely love working with new VA’s and seeing them uncover themselves in new ways as they emerge in their practices. It is a part of my practice that I cherish for many reasons.
One reason? I remember being in their shoes, still stiff and crusty from years in the corporate world, shy and extremely nervous both in my community and with new clients. It’s tough to slough off that old skin and spread entrepreneurial wings, no matter how entrepreneurial we may be at heart. Working with these women allows me to be like a trustworthy momma robin and urge them out of the nest.
Another reason? I love seeing the light bulbs go off. It’s funny, too, because I can almost hear them think, “Oh! Why didn’t that occur to me yet?” or “Wow! I can do THAT?” And I have a renewed love for my own business when I get to help them see what might be possible with theirs.
And, I remember making those attempts to fly myself. I made mistakes. I made mistakes I hated making but was grateful to make them with my trainer and the VA’s leading my internships rather than with a client. I still make mistakes with clients (I haven’t figured out how to be perfect yet) but they are easier to recover from because I had practice making mistakes in my training and internships with safe mentors.
Now as I train and lead others I get to practice flexing my grace muscle. When mistakes happen (and they always do, unless you’re perfect – and if you figure that out PLEASE let me know) it gives me the opportunity to practice apologizing when it is my mistake and leading with grace when it is not.
- An intern spaces out on a call
- An email goes out with a wacky link
- A new mentee does not meet expectations with the work she submits
- Work isn’t what I hoped for and I can see where communication could have been better (grace on both sides)
- I mess up and over-assign work and they mess up and don’t tell me they are overwhelmed
- A client doles out more than can be accomplished in the time allowed
Each instance requires communication and putting processes in place to eliminate the issue. Each instance requires grace.
How do you handle grace in your client, mentor, and leadership roles?