Great leaders are willing servants of people, organisations and causes. Instead of worrying about how powerful they are or what position they hold, these leaders focus on what others need. Without the distractions of ego, they can see the clearest path to positive outcome.

We know though that maintaining this clarity is a challenge. In moments of crisis, staying committed to Compassionate Leadership is a monumental challenge that requires daily effort, if not hourly. To keep my coaching clients on track, I ask a critical clarity question – one that helps them focus on making a positive impact instead of demonstrating their own superiority. This question will help you too. It will also decrease your stress level while getting closer to the results you want. Here it is…

“Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required, to make a positive difference on this topic?”

Of course, it isn’t a universal answer to all interpersonal problems, yet it has a specific utility. It’s a reminder that our environment tempts us many times a day to engage in pointless arguments and prove ourselves the winner.

Every day we are bombarded by triggers – people, events and circumstances that have the potential to trigger us. We often fail to appreciate just how much these triggers affect us, and how difficult it is to fend them off without support.

Let us look at each part of the question.

“Am I willing” implies that we are taking responsibility.

“At this time” reminds us that we are operating in the present, facing the only issue in the now.

“To make the investment required” reminds us that responding to others requires work.

“To make a positive difference” places the emphasis on the compassionate side of our nature.

“On this topic” focuses us on the matter at hand as we can’t solve every problem.

“Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required, to make a positive difference on this topic?” gives us a thin barrier of breathing room – time enough to inhale, exhale and reflect on whether the outcome we seek is the impact that is intended for the benefit of others, or a false positive that is intended to polish our own image. For Compassionate Leaders, who want to make serving others their primary mission, it’s a vital distinction.