09/28/2015 01:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Case for Grace in Business


When did the word "grace" vanish from our corporate vocabulary?

I used it recently to describe a colleague as "full of grace," and saw puzzled faces. So I did a quick search online and found that the use of the word has plummeted in recent years.

With corporate cultures struggling to adapt to the blurring of lines between personal and professional lives through digital and social networking, we need grace in our interactions now more than ever. So let's reintroduce grace to our working world.

Perhaps it helps to start with the basics.

Grace comes from the Latin gratus, meaning pleasing or grateful. A few definitions of the word have thrived over the years, as we still speak of a "graceful ballerina," "saying grace before a meal" and "grace the stage."

But there is another definition.

Grace also means all of the things you want to see in humanity. It means courteous good will, civility, decorum, decency and respect. It means consideration, thoughtfulness and tact. It means diplomacy, as well as another word sadly lacking in our business world, etiquette.

Simply put, grace is all that is good about working with people.

Join me in taking a moment to think of a respectful, considerate, person of good will that you work with, and thank them for being a person of grace. You'll find that in doing so, you've also just exhibited the trait yourself, and have taken the first step to reintroduce the concept of grace into our corporate vocabulary and culture.