Relationship Building: Affirmation Soothes the Pain

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help better cope with an emergency situation.

            Bleeding and screaming, the 5- year-old girl tried in vain to fend off her growling attackers after she inadvertently wandered into a pit-bull dog pen. Her mother, panicking at the screams, flew into the pen like a hawk , sweeping her frightened and bitten daughter into the safety of her arms.

         “Ssh, Ssh, Ssh, it’s okay now,” her mom cooed. She rushed her daughter to the safety of a nearby bench far away from the now locked dog pen. “You’re okay. Momma’s here for you. Ssh, Ssh, Ssh.”

           But to no avail. Her little girl continued to cry. The louder her mom tried to comfort her daughter with an affectionate “Ssh, Ssh,” the louder she cried. And the more she cried the faster she bled. The crying and bleeding seemed to get worse just when the ambulance arrived.

         I’ve been there. Bet you have too. We want to make the hurt go away. Now. And we’re frustrated when our best efforts are fruitless. This scenario got me to thinking how an effective leader (vs. an emotionally attached parent) would handle this situation. I wondered if a leader could more strategically focus on the critical (over-all well-being of the victim) rather than on the vital (the wound) and how that more strategic perspective would (the victim’s overall well-being), improve the expected result: stop the bleeding.

        I learned a lot about leadership from this scenario, especially when the trained medical first responder took the opposite tact from what the mom did (and what I would have done)— acknowledging not discounting — the girl’s painful, scary experience. Continue reading “Relationship Building: Affirmation Soothes the Pain”