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Good leaders: How do you overcome the dark noise?

Some days news of terror, natural disasters, and corporate crime is just too much dark noise to bear. Where is the goodness in this?

It happened sometime last week. Early in the morning I was reading the newspaper, while listening to the TV news, with my iPhone next to me on the table. I was reading about another disturbing terror crime while the TV announcer was reporting the same story. In the same instant, my phone buzzed with a text message announcing the same exact information. It was a total ambush of negativity before 7AM.

The view from my Thinking Chair, where most of these blogs begin.

What happened next is significant: I folded the paper, unsubscribed from the news app on my phone and I walked away from the TV. I had to escape the dark noise.

Sitting in my thinking chair, I recounted all of the natural disasters, white collar crimes, sexual exploitation accusations, and terrorist attacks lately. Dark noise. It makes me angry, sad, slightly paranoid, and generally irritable.

Coaching insight

The only way I know about all of this terrible stuff is because I consume the daily news. The bright idea: I could pull myself out of the funk if I cut back on my media consumption, and re-framed the situation: “Where is the goodness in all of this?”  That’s what good leaders do – they find the positives to build upon. Here are the two sources of goodness to ponder:

  1. People still care about people. We keep listening, watching, and reading the dark noise because we care about the people in places like Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, and Texas. Our hearts ache for shooting victims, but most of us are wondering What can we do to help? At the very least, we can say quick prayers for people who are injured and exploited. Prayer never hurts.
  2. Good work helps heal. A coaching client recently shared this insight: “My father is going into hospice this week, my spouse is unemployed and very bitter. Our teenage son is confused and acting out – he has been suspended from school because of truancy. I can’t listen to the radio anymore because I just can’t take any more darkness in my life.”

Goodness at work is a gift

Sometimes our goodness grows the most at work.

The client continued: “The one thing in my life that makes me feel good about myself is going to work. I have great colleagues. I like the fact that I’m in control over the work on my desk. And I love the feeling of being successful at work, accomplishing meaningful things.”

What a gift! My coaching client helped me understand something fundamental. The best way for leaders to drown out the dark noise is to create an encouraging workplace culture, where people can feel successful pursuing meaningful things. That’s goodness!

Good leaders block out the negativity that comes from consuming too much dark noise. And they create an environment fueled with encouragement where people can feel successful with meaningful work.

Please share with me: How do you overcome the dark noise?


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