Being There Is the Heart of the Matter

I guess it won’t surprise you … but I can’t keep my mouth shut. Hey, it’s been good for my net worth.

The other day a close friend was really upset about a professional thing. I was at a loss as to how to be helpful. When he finished his tale, I for once shut my mouth. All the way. No advice. No request for more details. Or clarifications. I was in fact at a loss for words, but that’s almost beside the point.

I simply sat with him, both of us in total silence, for what felt like an eternity, but was probably no more than 10 minutes. He slowly got up, and simply said, “Thanks for being here.”

I guess we all know this, even me, the noisy one: There are times—not so infrequent—where just being there—and silent—is the best gift of understanding and support you can provide.

I’m not doing family counseling here—because I believe this is a strong tonic, as peer or boss, in the workplace.

Tom Peters posted this on August 29, 2006, in Leadership.
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