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In 1711 the English poet Alexander Pope published his first major work which included the line #525 “….to err is human; to forgive, divine”

In the Mandt system we talk about seeing mistakes as simply mistakes and this is a principle strand in our approach not just to building healthy communication but also healthy conflict resolution. So what about when the mistake is deliberate or intended to obfuscate…. Is our job to forgive?

Not an easy question to answer, but principally quite simple. If we believe that in order to have healthy relationships in the workplace we have to take certain things on trust then until such time as a lie or obfuscation is exposed we do just that, take it on trust. The role of forgiveness comes later.

If managers or leadership are doing their job then the lie or intentional misleading will be addressed supportively as a performance issue with consequences or remediation applied as appropriate. Then comes the opportunity to forgive, whether that forgiveness is sought or not. Whether that individual remains within the organization or not….

Interestingly in this same poem Alexander Pope also penned the following lines; “A little learning is a dangerous thing” and “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”…. Pretty impressive to have three quotes from one poem solidly embedded in the lexicon of language over three hundred years after they were written.

Simon Kemp

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