4 Reasons Second Chances Make Sense

A fellow CEO recently told me of a situation in which his company had been swindled by a talented executive. He was understandably devastated when, shortly thereafter, he received a call from one of his managing partners. “Jim” the call began, “we hired you because we believed in you. We still do, but if you hide in your office too long, we’ll have to let you go.”

However tough love in tone, the point was made. Jim went forward, grew his business and is successful today, despite a recession that greatly affected his marketplace.

The managing partner’s comment underscores why great leaders give people a second chance:

  • We all know that each of us will fail at something in our professional lives. The pressure of perfection-seeking can paralyze a workplace.
  • Leader maturity is more evident in the response to failure than in the achievement of many successes. Such an event helps form the basis for enduring trust.
  • Second chances lessen the likelihood of burnout. You may “blow it” once, but you can come back with renewed energy.
  • Using second chances as an opportunity for learning sends an encouraging message about company values to the next generation of leadership. If you don’t offer second chances, you may breed a “do as I say” culture, which hasn’t worked well for some time.

There are some egregious situations in which a second chance makes no sense. But they are very few. Your understanding demonstrates to others that you will listen and respect human imperfection, even if the person does not use the opportunity well.