How to Ignore Others

Curt said, “I turn away when they load accident victims in the back. If I looked, the medical team would probably have another patient. I don’t want to know what’s going on back there. I can hear it when things are getting dicey but I try to ignore it.”

On the one year anniversary of the accident, I went looking for the Life Flight crew that saved my life. I found their names and shook hands with the pilot. I hope to thank the nurse and paramedic another time.

Curt is a former military aviator with a clear mission; arrive safely at the regional trauma center. He leverages his strengths while others, in the back, leverage theirs. He always operates at peak performance. Conditions in the back don’t matter.

Turning away enables dispassionate performance. He ignores accident victims because he cares, not because he doesn’t.

4 Benefits of ignoring others:

  1. Staying in your sweet spot. Meddling won’t help.
  2. Freeing others to stay in their sweet spots.
  3. Dispassionate decision-making.
  4. Skillful, consistent execution.

4 Ways to ignore others:

  1. Respect and honor their skills.
  2. Trust them to execute.
  3. Think humbly about yourself. Many over-estimate their competence.
  4. Concentrate on your responsibility.

Like most leadership skills, ignoring others isn’t universal. But, it may apply to you. Have you heard team members say, “Just leave me alone so I can do my job.” It’s one thing to support, encourage, and enable; it’s another to meddle.

Curt said, “I was just doing my job.” I reached out my hand, looked Curt in the eye, and said, “Thank you for doing your job.”


If you aren’t aware of the accident, “The Reason I haven’t Posted in a Week” will help.

How can leaders balance involvement and non-involvement?