I recently came upon a horrific accident.  The front of the van was smashed flat and half of the side was missing.  As I recounted the scene to a friend, I speculated that there must have been serious injuries involved.

He told me not to be so sure because the front engine of cars is intentionally built with several air pockets to absorb any impact.  It does more damage to the vehicle, but it is designed to protect the people. The outside of the car may look worse than the inside.

I think that supervisors play a similar role as the car engine.  Each layer of supervisor absorbs some of the stress, politics and worry to protect the people in their care.  The supervisor can serve as a buffer between the outside and the inside. They help people absorb only what they can handle and in a way that protects them from stressors they don’t need to have.

Think about your balance between unfiltered transparency and effective distribution of impact.  A little space may be a very good thing.

— beth triplett

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