As the days become weeks and the end of the coronavirus pandemic looms far on the horizon, many of us have struggled with this “new norm” and figuring out how to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers and fellow associates. I hadn’t given it much thought until some trusted accountability partners made me pause and think about the fact that I was still striving for perfection and being my head-strong self in a world that was far from perfect. I was pushing for things I felt needed to happen without putting myself in other people’s shoes and realizing they had their own dragons they were trying to slay. As I thought more and more about these conversations, two words kept coming to me: giving grace.

So, I took time to reflect on what giving grace means to me and found that first and foremost, it means finding patience. Genuine patience. For me, it also means:

  • Being kind and gentle in what you say and how you say it.
  • Letting frustrations go and responding with grace.
  • Being present and letting people know they are valued and:  supported.
  • Saying thank you often and letting people know how much I appreciate them.
  • Forgiving graciously and being quick to apologize when I make a mistake or wrong someone.

I have witnessed our associates giving grace in amazing ways. One manager shared how their associate reached out to an elderly client to make sure they were doing OK. Many more shared the creative ways they were trying to move forward with transactions that typically require face-to-face interactions. And my heart has been moved by stories about associates visiting grandparents or elderly friends at assisted living facilities and sitting outside their windows, so they don’t feel alone. Then there’s the grace needed to support our associates who are now trying to play full-time parent, teacher or day-care provider, while also maintaining their UMB-related responsibilities. There are far too many stories of giving grace to share, which is precisely the point.

While this is a crisis I hope to never experience again, it has been nothing short of uplifting to see everyone come together and truly support each other. My huge and sincere ask is that when this virus issue subsides one day, and we move back to what we know as “normal,” please continue to give grace and appreciate your colleagues, friends and family and what they mean to you in the exact same way you are doing now.

Stay healthy and safe and please take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

See recent coverage in the Kansas City Business Journal,‡ Phoenix Business Journal,‡ St. Louis Business Journal‡ to see how UMB is helping support our customers, associates and communities during this time.
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