Yesterday I took a trip out Rochester way to visit my mother and go with her to her first appointment with a new physician. This was a cause I undertook some weeks ago when, once again, my mother called me upset because her doctor hadn’t listened to her and tried to get her to do something she didn’t want to do. A problem many physicians still haven’t learned, I’m sorry to say, is how to listen to what their patients are saying and try to treat those things rather than having their own agenda and trying to force their wishes on their patients.

Even though it was an ugly process, we lucked out in finding her a new physician. However, early on Mom wasn’t quite sure this was something she should be doing. She kept trying to tell me how nice the doctor was; sorry, but nice isn’t greeting someone with a smile. Nice is taking care of someone, listening to them, then helping them with their issues. For while this physician was working on Mom’s high blood pressure, she was ignoring the pain she’s been suffering in her legs. Nope; no one gets to treat my mother with less than the utmost respect, especially at this period in her life.

As I sat there with her in this new doctor’s office (we were there 3 hours; ouch!), I thought back to when I was a child and the doctor’s appointments my mother sat in there with me, making certain decisions and not allowing anything bad to happen to me. It’s funny how the roles have reversed in a way, but I know I’m not the only adult child that’s had to do something like this for their parents.

And, by extrapolation, I thought about the process of leadership, and how often leaders can’t just sit around waiting for bad things to happen to others or in the office before they step forward and try to take care of things. For instance, if I had an employee who seemed to be in distress for more than a couple of days it was my duty to at least ask about it to see if maybe I could help, and if not to at least show some compassion for their situation. It was my duty to step up for another employee, even if they didn’t work for me, when there was a challenging situation that they couldn’t rectify for themselves, even if it was with their supervisor or director.

Sometimes those were dicey things, but it was important for me as a perceived leader to do what I felt was right, whether it was for my ultimate benefit or not. I sound strange saying this, being kind of a pacifist, but I’ve stepped in front of my friends to protect them from danger more times than I could count as an adult. I’ve offered assistance without overstepping my bounds and given them the opportunity to accept it or not.

Sometimes it’s just what we have to do if we accept leadership roles. There’s no turning it on and off because it’s convenient. It is what it is; sometimes you just have to step up and do what you feel is the right thing to do.

And more often than not, it’ll work out for the best.
 

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