How Haters and Supporters Produce the Same Results

Compassionate supporters and negative haters often employ similar behaviors that produce the same results.

Haters and supporters:

Haters gossip and backstab in the shadows. But when it’s time to work on improving someone’s performance, they go silent. Haters don’t want to help.

Compassionate supporters avoid conflict and shrink from causing pain. They go silent when it’s time to confront issues and make specific improvements.

Compassionate supporters are no better than haters until they confront tough issues.

Haters and compassionate supporters achieve the same result. Poor performance persists.

Avoiding negative issues prolongs disappointing results.

Compassionate bull crap:

Compassionate supporters are no better than haters. Both limit the potential of others.

Compassionate supporters excuse poor performance by blaming the wrong people. A compassionate supporter might say, “Mary failed because her team didn’t give their best. If her team did their jobs, she would be a success.”

This is a line of compassionate bull crap. Mary’s poor performance will continue until she takes responsibility to bring out the best in her team.

The danger of compassion is defending poor performance.

Misguided compassion prolongs:

  1. Tension because it waits too long to intervene.
  2. Weakness because it comforts rather than confronts.
  3. Poor performance because it holds the wrong people responsible for problems.

When a compassionate supporters explain why someone isn’t performing, they talk about other people on the team. This approach is harmful, not helpful.

Misguided compassion destroys potential.


Excuses and blame justify poor performance.

Compassionate supporters excuse poor performance by pointing out good motives and high effort. “Bob’s trying really hard, it’s not his fault that he’s performing poorly. Others won’t cooperate. He has a good heart, others should cut him a break.”

Unwittingly, an excuse-making supporter produces the same results as a negative hater.

How might leaders navigate tensions between compassion and confrontation?

How might leaders bring out the best in compassionate supporters?