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Blog: Is There Room for Mercy in Leadership?

“I am big on mercy”. This was the statement that caught my attention and sparked this blog. I was listening to the radio while getting ready for work a few mornings ago. The DJ made a statement about the poor performance and the mistakes being made by a certain athletic coach. The sports announcer responded with the surprising remark, “I don’t have a lot to say here… as you know…. I am big on mercy.”

I don’t remember who was talking or what was being talked about; however, this statement grabbed me, so I wrote it down. I asked myself throughout the day, “Michelle, how big are you on mercy?” I must say, mercy is not one of my strong suits. But I certainly appreciate it when I am given mercy. Mercy by definition (according to means: Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm: "the boy was begging for mercy". An event to be grateful for, esp. because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering. Mercy is also identified as a noun and an adjective. However, I would argue that mercy is a verb… it is only meaningful when it is put into action. As leaders, we have the opportunity everyday to show mercy and give compassion to someone who may not “deserve” it. I do believe that the same measuring stick which we use to measure other people’s deeds will be the same measuring stick which other people will “judge” ours. I also believe in the law of “sewing and reaping” or “good karma”, whatever you choose to call it. I hope there have been times when you have received mercy when you did not deserve it, because when any of us receive mercy, we are given the opportunity to right ourselves when we have gone down the wrong path. We could all use a break sometimes.

Below are five questions to ask yourself:

  1. As a leader, how can you choose to lead and still show mercy?
  2. When and to whom do you choose to give mercy?
  3. When would it not be wise as a leader to give mercy?
  4. Are you afraid you will appear “weak” or get taken advantage of if you give mercy?
  5. Where would you value some mercy in your own life?

This blog stirred inside me before I wrote it and continues to stir inside me as I finish it. I am striving to be more merciful…. What about you? Do you have a story of how you gifted someone with mercy when they did not deserve it, or a story where someone gifted you with mercy? If so, I hope you will share it with us! If you are a leader and interested in developing new behaviors, be it in mercy or another area, I invite you to contact us today. We specialize in working with leaders like you (and me)!


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