Newsflash! Compassion fatigue is real. I’m not sure I believed that until today. Today, I wanted to strangle someone who I love dearly. I was the living, breathing embodiment of that meme that says, “I have one nerve left, and you just got on it.” I’ve been the primary caregiver for my loved one for several months now, and I have been truly putting my heart and soul into helping her get better. Today, I hate to admit that I found myself wondering why.
So what put me over the edge? I wish I could point to one single, earth-shattering event or moment so that I could avoid similar moments in the future. But the truth is I simply ran my compassion tank dry. And now that I’ve all but run out of compassion, I feel the impact in other personal and professional relationships.
Let me be clear – I am not alone in caring for my loved one. I have help if I ask. My loved one is probably capable of doing more on her own if I let go of my fears. We have a professional healthcare team who support us when I constantly check-in. I can’t help but wonder how I would feel today if now and then someone would say, “Take a break, I got this” or “let that go”? Would I be able to stop the constant voice in my head asking, “What else should I be doing? What have I forgotten? What could go wrong?”
I’m one person caring for one other person. What is it like for people who are caring for five or six patients? Are people in your organization suffering from compassion fatigue? Are you giving them the support and encouragement they need? As a leader, do you know how to provide that support and encouragement? Coaching highly engaged employees – those at high risk for developing compassion fatigue – is a foundational leadership skill that does not come naturally to most leaders. At Baird Group, we offer leadership and development training to help you coach employees at all levels of engagement. Don’t wait until your best people burn out before contacting us for more information.