GRACE: A Leader's Guide to a Better Us focuses on the role that grace plays as a catalyst in enabling us to create "the greater good" at work, at home and in our communities. GRACE tells the stories of women and men who are making a positive difference in our world by devoting themselves to serving as agents of positive change. GRACE is a clarion call for the goodness in the world around us as well as a practical guide for implementing grace in your own life.

GRACE: The Interview

Leading with Influence and Grace (Wanda Wallace Interview)

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Ten Things You Need to Know about GRACE: A Leader’s Guide to a Better Us

What is grace? Grace is the catalyst for positive action. In a religious sense grace is unearned and as such it is yours to use for the betterment of others. Grace as a gift is used for positive change to enable the greater good.

Why did you write this book? I have always been intrigued with the concept of grace. Grace emerges from my work in leadership purpose. Purpose emerges from the whyof what we do. It leads to our vision (becoming) and mission (doing). Grace shapes how we interact with others; as such it shapes our values (belonging). In short, purpose is the why; grace is the how. Grace nurtures respect for the betterment of others.

How does grace influence leadership? Grace is selfless. The good leaders are those who put others before themselves. That does not make them saints, it makes them smart. Why? Because no leader accomplishes anything by him or herself. We all need the cooperation and collaboration of others to succeed.

What’s a leader’s responsibility to ensure that grace can flourish? Leaders set the right example. When colleagues see the leader acting with grace, that is, putting others first, treating others with dignity, showing compassion and being humble, they will understand the leader’s intentions. Leaders also must show energy for grace, that is, challenge themselves and others to work for the greater good.

What are people saying about grace? The reaction is positive, more positive than any other book I have written. The reason is because people see a need for it. And in fact they say, “we need more of it.” They even like to provide their own definitions for what the perceive it is.

Why did you include the concepts of mercy and forgiveness? Grace inspires us but it also enriches. But before we can be enrich we must demonstrate mercy – that is, patience and forgiveness toward others. Mercy is overlooked because our society sometimes like to speak of winners and losers. Mercy is for those of us – all of us – who fail. Mercy is about second chances. Forgiveness is about giving that second chance to others as well as ourselves. Grace acts within us to forgive and to show mercy… even when people may not deserve it.

There are a lot of stories. Why? Grace is the goodness reflected in action and what better way to illustrate than to tell stories. The book contains stories about people we all know from Aretha Franklin and Fred Rogers to John McCain, but also those such as Amadou Mamadou, aka Spider Man, who rescued a child in Paris hanging from a fourth floor balcony, and John Feal who works to assist those suffering from illnesses resulting from their work cleaning up debris of the Twin Towers in New York City. I would like to say that when anyone does something positive they are moved by grace.

What about grace as the concept of beauty and elan? Grace is about being centered and there is a flow to it. We say that dancers have grace in their movement. The same with athletes young and old. I tell the story, too, of Anna Deutscher, the child prodigy composer and musician. Her gift of musicality graces us all.

You interviewed a number of leaders in book. Tell us about them? It was privilege to have so many women and men offer to speak to me about what grace means to them personally. Their ideas and their stories flesh out the point that grace is something inherent in the human condition, if we only look for it.

 
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