Technology Trauma

Sep 26, 2021


Find out what new technology, a shoulder sling, and a hole in the roof can teach us about colleague responses and compassionate leadership.

I love being on the cutting edge of technology, but it was truly an accident that I was in the store buying a new phone the day after the latest model hit the market! It had already been a rough week… Through a combination of being on a beta software and the newest iOS version (which I, of course, forced ahead of the automated schedule), I lost an electronic journal with over 1000 entries of devotionals-- you know, bible verses, prayers, ah-ha moments, etc. I also lost over 2000 more memories including funny stories, associated photos, and special milestones. Gulp!

Adding to that frustration (and sense of loss), my new phone buying experience culminated in 8 hours of additional technical tangles, an outlay of hundreds of dollars, and surprisingly, no new phone! On the way home from that encounter, I met a new neighbor wearing a shoulder sling. Having married a man who dislocated his shoulders on multiple occasions resulting in at least one surgery, I fancied myself as an expert. “How’s the shoulder doing?” I asked sincerely. “Ok!” he said a bit upbeat. But once my genuine interest sunk in, he said, “Actually, not really, my arm is paralyzed. I broke my neck.” It was then I saw his scars, both physical and mental. 

Soon the house where [Jesus] was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. … 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” ~ Mark 2:2, 3, 10, 11 (NLT)

What struck me most about my small loss and my neighbor’s big loss:

  • Pain’s Hidden: Both of us were suffering from loss and by outward appearances, we wanted to seem fine. I am reminded that we really don’t know what people are experiencing. Our co-workers and our friends often grieve in private. A simple question like, “How are you?” gives us an opportunity to express how much we care.
  • Situations Spark: I have a terrible memory and my projects are time sensitive. Right now, I am touchy about the loss of important content and time. My neighbor might be touchy if I made a big deal about my relatively insignificant situation compared to learning to live with one arm. Empathy for others’ anguish gives us compassion.
  • Friends Help: The paralytic Jesus healed had friends that were so concerned for him and so confident in the resolution, they lowered him into the middle of a crowded home through the roof. Jesus was more focused on forgiving the man’s sins, but proved that he could do that and restore the man’s ability to walk. Friendship often helps restore others.

As leaders we must be cognizant of the fact that people can be suffering hidden stressors, that certain situations can bring to light specific challenges, and that we might be the only ones offering to help. It’s easy to add a cheery post on social media and fain happiness on a video call. When you get a spicy response out of nowhere or see productivity waning, be sure to check in. Genuine interest, compassion, and friendship are key to true leadership.

by Michelle Sugerman • Leading Synergies, LLC • © All Rights Reserved

Visit a Synergy Group and discuss the transformative Leadership Development and
Spiritual Growth presented in the Leader's Field Guide. Synergy Group Members
can access this week's Synergy Group Agenda in My Gym Bag.


Light-Hearted Wisdom for Serious Business


50% Complete