We don't use these terms often enough in our daily work lives. We continue to think that we are "all business" and focus on using military and sports mentalities because they offer us the opportunity to avoid the emotional impact of our actions. I might even go so far as to suggest we do it so that we, as individuals, don't have to deal with our own emotions that are generated each day as we strive for mastery and purpose.
For the sake of clarity, grace is "extending kindness to the unworthy" while mercy is "deliverance from judgment". I would suggest that the very first thing to do is to offer both to yourself.
We strive each day to feel good enough and to earn the respect of others and we often fall short. When we do fall short we are not inclined to give ourselves and grace or mercy so we must re-contextualize our shortcomings and that turns into blame, anger, frustration...see where this is going? We move our negative emotions to from "me" to "them" which is both easier and very wrong. We do this because we have to address the dissonance that failure to achieve causes to our fragile self-image. If we accept our failures (and we have some each and every day), then we have to change our internal beliefs about who we are and that is painful so we project onto others and we have magically saved our carefully curated image of ourselves that exists only in our own mind...because others know who we really are.
Imagine if you:
recognized that you are not the superhuman you imagined yourself to be
set realistic expectations for yourself and held yourself accountable in a positive manner
graciously accepted when you failed to achieve an outcome and honestly evaluated why you fell short (which is the only way to improve by the way)
offered yourself grace and/or mercy and then committed to the change required to achieve your goals
offered grace and/or mercy to those close to you when they failed instead of judgement and/or shame
How might these 5 steps change your life? More importantly, if you consider yourself a leader, how might these 5 steps change the lives of others?