Did You Notice? (Their Reaction to Kobe’s Death) Why does it mater?

You might say it won’t impact you or your workplace.

You might be right.

But there is a bigger problem. Not noticing will hurt their performance, your department production, and the company income.

In this post, we address how to overcome the problem of not noticing the pain of team members. Followers of this blog appreciate how I help solve significant problems with disruptive thinking.

Kobe Byrant’s Death


You heard of his tragic death yesterday. A sports and cultural celebrity whose life was cut tragically short. Fans grieve because he was one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Others grieve because his daughter was also killed. Still others grieve because 9 people lost their lives, tearing families apart.

  • How does his death affect you?
  • What part of this story disturbs you most?

For some, there won’t be a problem. They weren’t big basketball fans or otherwise affected. But for many, life is just a little off kilter today.

What does that matter to you as a leader at work?

When you go to work today, will you notice how much this tragedy affects your team?

You might be justified in asking, “It’s tragic but so what? What does that have to do with doing their jobs?”

The death of someone we haven’t met and definitely didn’t know shouldn’t affect our work. But often it does. The problem comes in your failure to notice their pain.

When you fail to notice their pain, it will affect their work.

Noticing Their Pain

The Gallup 2017 State of the American Workplace revealed that only 33% of workers are fully engaged. That means 2/3rds of the average workplace is disengaged. They are not giving 100% to their job.

Even the best workers have trouble focusing when they lose something important to them. It definitely happens when they lose a loved one. Even when it is a national celebrity where they had some emotional connection, they can’t give 100%, no matter how hard they try.

We already know that the loss of a loved one is traumatic. No one can expect full engagement in that time of grief. But national events? Should that matter?

Tragic events like Kobe’s death challenge the full engagement of even the best workers.

Imagine what it does to those that are not fully engaged.

It may not affect them. But the point of this post is to solve potential problems by noticing.

The question you need to ask is, “Will you notice how much this impacts productivity of your best workers today?

The Hidden Pain

It’s easy to get so focused on doing your job that you don’t want to be distracted by things that you don’t think should affect the workplace.

That’s the problem, “SHOULD.”

When we use the word, “Should,” we assert our values onto others. As leaders in the workplace, we shape the culture and set the values of what matters. If the pain of a team member doesn’t matter, you will have disengagement. That’s right, read it again. Even if you dismiss that pain as irrelevant or misguided, it’s their pain and your failure to notice will show them you don’t care.

Noticing shows you care about their pain.

Noticing is the first step that leads to feeling, thinking and acting to alleviate their pain. Without you noticing their pain, the team member will notice that you don’t notice and the rest of the team didn’t notice. Even if the pain is misguided, they notice your failure to notice.

The Ultimate Question

Failing to notice screams “I DON’T CARE.” They can’t help but ask, “If you don’t care about my pain, what do you care about?” Not noticing makes people wonder about you.

It also makes them question themselves and their commitment to you. “If you don’t care about me, why should I be working here?

You might say, “It doesn’t matter if I care, they need the paycheck.” You might be right. They may be working there just for the paycheck. But if they are, have you noticed they are one of the 67% that are disengaged? They are asking themselves, “Why should I bust my butt for someone that doesn’t care about me?”

A Small Step to a Big Breakthrough

That’s when it’s time to notice.

Take that tiny step and notice their behavior.

  • Has anything changed?
  • Are they quieter or more talkative than normal?
  • Do they look disheveled?
  • Are they having trouble focusing?

It’s a tiny step to notice without judging. Simply observe. Ask yourself and then ask them, “How are you doing?” Be sincere and pay attention to their answer.

In the end, you might just find that that gesture of sincerely noticing and caring to ask the question is the first step to a fully engaged workplace. Compassion is coming alongside another to help alleviate their pain. In our research we have found that leading with the power of compassion is the best business practice because it unleashes the ultimate performance, production, and profits.

And to think it starts by noticing instead of thinking, “It doesn’t matter. They SHOULD be working.”

Please share your thoughts. Follow the blog and engage in the discussion. Let’s solve significant problems with disruptive thinking.

(c) 2020 Murfield International, Inc.




Loren Murfield, Ph.D.

I help decision makers re-engineer their thinking to do what others don’t, won’t or can’t. In Tampa? Contact me about my upcoming Mastermind, 16 Ways to Think Disruptively.

Check out my books on this topic.

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