Apathy is the Incurable Override

April 17, 2019

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

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Apathy is Incurable

Image Credit: Shutterstock


This series of “Lessons from Al” is dedicated to the life and legacy of one of the most influential mentors in my life, career, and management, Al Berg.

This “Lesson from Al” was one of the most fundamental lessons of all. You can invest time, money, and energy into someone’s development; but if they are apathetic, none of that will make a difference.

Apathy is the incurable override.

In my work with teams through the years, this one lesson proved true.

The only people who had sticking power on the team were the ones who cared.

As much as we talk about strengths and investing your people, caring is the prerequisite.

When you are seeking to fill a position, there is a proven methodology that works.

  1. Look first for people who care.
  2. Place them in positions based on strengths.
  3. Teach skills.

These must be addressed in this order because, if they don’t care, it won’t work.

If they do care, and you place them in an area of their strengths, they will learn the skills needed to do the job. More importantly, they will WANT to learn.

How can you tell if someone cares?

You have likely heard the saying that, “Love is a verb; and a verb shows action.”

Social media posts are filled with those who clearly do not love their work. Their actions online and at work declare apathy and disengagement. And unless they change from within, no class or training you provide will change them.

As a leader, you can waste valuable time trying to change what you cannot; or you can decide to focus on those who care…and invest in their development.

Here are the signs to watch for.

Does not respond well to suggestions,
reviews, or critiques
Is coachable, teachable, and thankful when you point out mistakes
Waits for you to tell them what to do nextShows initiative, takes the lead on things within agreed-upon boundaries
Does not ask clarifying questionsProactively asks questions so they understand what is needed and their part in the big picture
Accepts issues, mistakes, and shortcomings
as a normal course of business
Offers ideas for improvements
Does only what is requiredGoes the extra mile
Says, “That’s not my job.”Is willing to do what it takes to get the job done
Says, “That’s not my problem,” or puts
off dealing with difficult situations
Quick to address difficult situations, resolve problems, and then look for solutions so they don’t happen again
Exhibits lackluster customer service or
disrespect for other team members
Treats customers, vendors, and co-workers well and is attentive to their needs
Says “the company goal” or “your goal”Says “our goal”
Waits for you to say, “Can you help?”Actively observes and says, “How can I help?” or even better, “Here’s what I can do for you.”
Is content with what they knowIs always seeking to learn more, increase knowledge, and expand their skill set

The choice is yours as a leader. You can invest in incurable apathy and lose; or you can invest in those who care and gain exponentially.

As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.