How to Overcome the Distraction of Compassion

Sep 28, 2020

Distracted leaders are octopods spinning like tornados with sucker-filled tentacles clinging to ‘important’ trivialities.

You can’t go eight directions at the same time and make meaningful progress.

The centrifugal force of distraction drives leaders toward triviality, anxiety, and burnout.

Solving distraction that drains energy and weakens resolve:

#1. The distraction of compassion.

Nobility is in action, not emotion.

You might say, “I’m worried about retaining our top talent.” The question is, “What are you doing about employee retention?”

Concern apart from action is draining distraction.

Evaluate compassion in order to eliminate distraction:

  1. Why am I concerned?

  2. How motivated to find a solution are the people involved in this concern?

  3. On a scale of 1:10 how much of my concern falls within the realm of my responsibility?

  4. If things were going perfectly, what would NOT be happening?

  5. If things were going perfectly, what WOULD be happening?

  6. What am I willing to do to move this concern toward solution?

  7. What is the likelihood this concern can come to acceptable solution?

Bonus: Within the context of current challenges and opportunities, where does this concern fall on a scale of 1:10?

When busy equals important, it's embarrassing to effectively manage time.

#2. The distraction of delegated compassion.

Compassionate people – who delegate their concerns – distract, drain, and frustrate while standing aloof.

A compassionate colleague informs you that some employees are upset. Emotional concern – without action – is one more dripping faucet in an ocean of drips.

Expecting others to resolve your concerns for you is draining distraction.

Evaluate delegated compassion:

Ask compassionate people…

  1. What have you tried to resolve this concern?

  2. What would you suggest?

  3. What do you need to begin addressing your concern?

Tip: Some people manipulate with compassion. They say, “I’m worried about xyz.” They mean, “I want you to do something about xyz.”

Where busy equals important, it’s embarrassing to effectively manage time.

How might feelings of concern or compassion distract leaders?

How might distracted leaders get a grip on the danger of feeling concerned but not taking action?

By Dan Rockwell