Rick Forbus


Leaders and Forgiveness in the Workplace

By Rick Forbus, Ph.D.

Before I go any farther with this article I want to make it clear that I know this is an unusual topic for general business leaders. Forgiveness is never easy whether in organizational life, family life or just generally in relationships. It is, however, a relevant topic when it comes to leadership. To forgive someone is a powerful and complex action. It can mean to absolve or clear another of their wrongdoing towards you or others. It may include the next step of freeing that person or persons from the repercussions of their incorrect actions. When we make an emotional decision to exonerate another or to be exonerated by another for our actions, something deeply emotional transpires.

Leadership has never and will never take place in a vacuum. To be a leader one has to involve others. It is the “involving of others” that brings about the relational challenges. Most leaders, from my experience as a coach, consider walking into another’s office and asking for their forgiveness a glaring weakness. Leaders also often find it awkward to respond when someone forgives them for a wrongdoing. Even though it is difficult to talk about forgiving someone in the corporate setting, what may appear to be a weakness, could be a definable strength as a leader.

Forgive and forget. Easier said than done, right? Well, now studies are showing forgiveness is not only good religion but good medicine as well. According to the latest medical and psychological research, forgiving is good for our souls-and our bodies. People who forgive: (1) benefit from better immune functioning and lower blood pressure (2) have better mental health than people who do not forgive (3) feel better physically (4) have lower amounts of anger and fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and (4) maintain more satisfying and long-lasting relationships. “When we allow ourselves to feel like victims or sit around dreaming up how to retaliate against people who have hurt us, these thought patterns take a toll on our minds and bodies,’ says Michael McCullough, director of research for the National Institute for Healthcare Research and a co-author of To Forgive is Human: How to Put Your Past in the Past (IVP, 1997). Learn More »

Transitions and Other Life Shifts

By Rick Forbus, Ph.D.

The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and the establishment of the new, constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.

John C. Calhoun

I do not think I agree with the above quote about transitions. It could be that a transition is well-planned for and is not as stressful as Calhoun’s quote indicates. If you are between employment opportunities by choice or necessity, it is important to understand where you are in your transition cycle. Transitions can be exhilarating or terrifying and various emotions in between. I enjoy hearing the stories of clients and friends regarding life transitions because each one is so unique and something so very personal.

As a coach I encounter so many different stories of life transitions.   One person recently told how he went from conducting orchestras and choirs as a profession, to becoming a leadership trainer, coach and keynote speaker. His transition was a long but intentional journey.  Another friend has transitioned from a full time position as a pastor to a full time regional sales director and now pastors smaller churches in a part time format. One Delta Airline long term employee I met now works as a real estate broker. My own transition has been an interesting journey and one that would never have happened if I had not had the courage to take that first step.

Transitions are very personal, sometimes painful and extremely real to those going through them. One person has had to go interview in areas of employment that are outside the parameters of their training, experience and comfort just to survive. Others I have coached were simply tired of what they had been doing and wanted to examine other avenues of interest and passion to complete their careers. Some coaching clients are searching for a transition that enables them more freedom; freedom from stress, freedom to make better choices and a freedom that allows them a different life situation altogether.

From Career Magazine, written by James Sofia, Ph.D. comes this excerpt.

This is an era of job transition. An abundance of professional and highly trained individuals are finding themselves displaced by company restructuring and downsizing, the rapid changes in technology and plant re-locations. Remember the days when we planned on the security of a stable job market and set our sights on that upward climb within the walls of a rock solid company who rewarded us with gold watches as a token of our longevity! This vision that we grew up with has been shattered by the ever changing pressures of global competitiveness and employee expendability. “So, James, what would you like to be when you grow up?” my father would occasionally ask me, as images of possible career paths came to mind. Learn More »

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