There's something I say often that's not quite true. Yup, you're hearing it from me, the guy who says that truth and honesty is one of my top moral disciplines. In this case it's not a bad thing though; in actuality, it's a bit of a clarification of a position of mine.

CWD Ashcan #410
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I'm often saying that I don't do a lot of forgiving; I don't offer forgiveness towards those who have wronged me, or have perpetrated bad behavior that's inexcusable, whether it's towards me or not. Overall, that's a pretty true statement; no lie so far.

Where the "lie" comes into play is that, whereas I don't forgive egregious behavior, or a violation of my own principles, I'm actually a pretty easy going person who, in normal circumstances, will give people a lot of chances to get things right. I don't know that many people who, in work situations or many personal situations, gives others more chances than me. As a matter of fact, my wife is always telling me I'm too nice; point of fact.

There are a few things I don't excuse though. If someone is intentionally racist or hateful and I feel they should know better, I'll probably cut them off and never deal with them again. As for forgiveness; nope, not happening.

If someone is proven to be a child molester, nope, no forgiveness there either. Sorry Jared, sorry Gary Glitter, no redemption for either of you, or others who've been where you are or are you to come.

This subject came up in a discussion on Sunday with a friend of mine. She was talking about a singer whose name I'm not going to mention, but who most people know assaulted another singer some years ago, doing significant damage to her. His excuse later was that's what he grew up around and that it was a freak moment, and that he'd never do anything like that again.

At the time he said the right things and said he was going to do what was necessary, accept his punishment, and work to never be someone who couldn't be trusted again. I'll admit I was doubtful because, though I don't know the percentage, it's acknowledged that more often than not, when a person is used to abusing someone they'll probably do it again, either towards the same person or someone else.

In this case I'd have to say he hasn't abused any other woman as far as I know and that's something positive. However, he's always popping up in the news for other bad behavior. He was given a major chance to become a positive force for change and redemption; instead, he's got a track record that keeps building up, to the point that there are countries who won't allow him in; that's pretty hard stuff.

In my mind it doesn't matter how many albums this guy puts out, or how much the younger people might be willing to let him off the hook time and time again. I'm just not interested; luckily, I'm not in his demographic so he won't care. He doesn't need my forgiveness or money to be a success; life is good.

Pop!Tech 2008 - Laura Waters Hinson
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The work world is a little different though. Every day, in every business in the world, someone makes a mistake that someone else thinks is critical. Sometimes they're right in thinking those mistakes are critical; sometimes they're not. Those types of things need to be evaluated to determine how bad they might be. At the same time, the evaluation has consider whether a type of forgiveness can be given or not.

I specially used "type" because I don't consider overlooking a mistake as being anything that needs to be forgiven. For that matter, in many cases people can make a lot of mistakes and it's just that, a mistake.

However, as with everything else, sometimes certain mistakes that happen over and over need to be addressed; that's what management is about. If an employee is always 15 minutes late and it's critical for that person to be on time based on what they do, you can only allow it to happen so many times before you probably have to let the person go. It comes down to making sure that everyone in the department is held to the same standard so you don't have anarchy, as well as a reflection of what kind of leader you are.

There are some violations that can't be forgiven even after just one time. Physical or verbal assault on a customer, theft... as a manager you can't ever allow a person to have another chance at harming the company, no matter what they say. You can't make excuses for those folks, no matter their circumstances; that's just how it is.

For a lot of us, it's in our nature to want to believe that every person we meet is good, and every person we work with is dedicated. When we think we've gone above and beyond with training, motivating, counseling, and complimenting, we tend to believe that all will be perfect.

But it won't be. So in that moment when you realize that a person has failed you, failed the company or failed themselves while you're paying them... you have to be ready to make a decision. It shouldn't be a personal decision; it should be for the good of the company, the department, and you as the leader.

In that moment there is no forgiveness to give; it's the job and the duty of the person in charge. If you've given chances on those things that could be corrected, you've done your job. If you've taken swift action on those things that can't be corrected, you've done your job.

That's all that matters.