The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine personally and are not necessarily representative of current or former employers.
Leadership and Reconciliation
I get knocked on my ass every now and again. Okay … often.
The big fall took place a few years ago. Grace and Mercy picked me up, as they continue to do. They changed my life direction, and I still haven’t gotten over it. Made me a thankful person. Taught me to be a builder of others. I try to be more humble, and still fall short (just ask my wife).
I’m very much a work in progress, but I stay on the path, chin up. When I think too long about my journey, I get weepy. Success has come more by grace and mercy than skill or talent. Unmerited in many respects.
All the above experiences set the stage for me to pursue reconciliation as a leadership practice.
I started this with my family years ago. I knew I had hurt those dearest to me, so I went and reconciled. Today, there is nothing left hidden or unsaid, at least on my end. Memories then came to my mind of all the people I had treated poorly from high school, college, and career. I sought them out, told them I was sorry, and asked what I could do to make things right. Most were receptive. Many relationships were restored. Not all. I did what I knew to do and moved on.
The workplace. Where I have sown hatred, envy, bitterness, malice, brokenness, I have been driven to reverse course and make amends. In some cases, extending grace and mercy as I have received it. In most cases, asking for forgiveness and seeking ways to reverse damages inflicted. Not long ago, I failed here big time, and it haunts me now. I’m compelled to share this with you so you can avoid a similar fate.
Damn. My 2005 mentor, Dr. Achilles Demetriou, died this June. I am who I am partially because of his profound influence in my development as an executive. We had an incredible relationship that was disrupted by my departure from University Hospitals in 2007. We were at a critical juncture in our deployment of an EHR, and I knew my decision to leave upset Achilles in particular. He and I were partnered to ensure success. My timing was imperfect; we both knew it. While I received support and encouragement from others when I moved on, Achilles was physically and emotionally absent.
I needed to reconcile. I never did. Now it’s too late. I’m saddened on multiple levels. Foremost, we lost a great man, leader, scientist, and clinician. But the pain cuts deeper for me. I lost the opportunity to talk through stuff, make peace, and continue the relationship that shaped me.
May it never happen again!
What about you? As you read this, do people come to mind? Family? Friends? Co-workers? What relationships are calling for reconciliation?
Making peace with people doesn’t just happen. It takes a pro-active effort. Reconciliation comes down to leadership. If you’re a leader, you make the first move. Don’t wait for the other person because it likely won’t happen. Get out of the emotional prison and implore the other person to break out with you.
I challenge you, my colleagues, as names come to mind, write them down. In the next 24 hours, reach out to each person. Not every attempt will turn out rosy, but you will have done the right thing. In many cases, you will see restoration. Your call, card, or visit might hit the trigger point that causes transformation or breakthrough in someone’s life. Definitely in yours. Leadership at its best and its hardest. Humility.
Reconcile before death happens and you’ll avoid a haunting pain. Recompense your way to freedom.
Ed Marx is a CIO currently working for a large integrated health system. Ed encourages your interaction through this blog. Add a comment by clicking the link at the bottom of this post. You can also connect with him directly through his profile pages on social networking sites LinkedIn and Facebook and you can follow him via Twitter — user name marxists.