Leaders see things with a clarity that brings life into focus. Leaders see things that other people don’t see. Physical eyesight is one of the five senses. We take special care to preserve our vision. A few years ago the total vision care market in the U.S. generated about 34.5 billion dollars.
Eye sight is important. We often use the analogy of sight to express our agreement or disagreement with each other. Sometimes we say that we see eye-to-eye about a certain situation. At other times we say that we can see the view point of another person. We even express the desire that another person would see things like we do.
Good leaders properly use God’s gift of eye sight to look at what is happening at the moment but understand that things may be different than they actually appear to the eye. Leaders have another kind of sight. They have insight. A leader’s insight goes beyond the physical. Insight suggests that a leader has a deep understanding about a person or a situation. Both kinds of sight are essential qualities of good leadership.
Christian leaders need the ability to see things like God sees them. This involves discernment and wisdom. Supernatural vision is more remarkable than Superman or the latest techniques that come from medical tomography. Leaders with Godly insight have the ability to make sense of a situation from a Godly perspective. Seeing things from God’s perspective involves comprehending his divine plan and purpose. Even more insightful is understanding the eternal principles that govern God’s purposes.
Seeing is believing
It is essential to understand that everyone sees the world through their own eyes. We like to believe what we see and trust our eyes to reveal the world around us. We take action based on sight and tend to avoid shadows or darkness for fear of the unknown. At times we express the need for better insight and the need to shine a little light on the subject.
Here are 5 ways that illustrate how leaders really do see things differently.
1- Leaders see mistakes as an investment in learning
Leaders see occasional failure as inevitable. No one likes to fail, but it is often a necessary step towards eventual success. The first steps of a baby learning to walk are full of risk and are sometimes painful. Edison found the right filament material for his electric light bulb only after testing over 6,000 other materials. He understood that failure coupled with patience and persistence brought him closer and closer to success.
Leaders see failure as a way of growing in experience and proper decision making. Only a few organizations led by fearless leaders spend the time and resources necessary to understand the reasons for missed goals and failures. Learning through failure teaches lessons that cannot be learned any other way.
2- Leaders see each person as an individual created in God’s image
Leaders see value in each person because they recognize that everyone is endowed with personhood by God Almighty. Each person is an original human being with a unique set of gifts. No two snowflakes are identical and no two humans are the same.
Leaders recognize that everyone has their own temperament. Persons with distinct personalities see things uniquely and leaders value those differences like the various spices that go into making an epic recipe. We are uniquely created by a most creative God.
3- Leaders encourage others to see things differently
Leaders champion diversity with an appreciative understanding that everyone sees things from their own perspective. They see value in the different vantage points of others. The opinions of others are based on the sum of their own individual life experiences.
Leaders develop a total picture of their operating environment by seeing to it that others have an opportunity to participate according to their skills and abilities. There is power in consensus after first considering differences of opinion.
4- Leaders see through the eyes of situational awareness
Leaders see that they are in tune with what is going on around them. They know other people in context and they are perceptive about that context. They are aware of different communication habits, different learning preferences, and different motivations.
Leaders are aware of diverse organizational perspectives like travelers sitting in different seats of a car all going to the same destination but with different viewpoints. It is seldom that a group of people all share the same perspective about a complex situation.
5- Leaders see the past, present and future as a continuum of experience
Leaders see themselves and their organizations as dynamic rather than static. They are agile and alert as they take note of the past on the way to the future. They see organizational cycles of life and anticipate impending change.
Leaders see changes in patterns before others and prepare accordingly. Leaders are not negatively surprised by change and value the resource of time wisely. They value the present moment as a precursor for tomorrow.
Eye sight and insight
A leader’s window into the world is their eye sight and insight. They use a combination of eye sight and insight to positively influence the world and the people in it. Both are developed through time and experience. Leaders who see things differently realize that it is possible to change the world which makes leading a lot easier.
I have a challenge for both of us. Let’s go see things differently!
Dr. Paul E. Greasley is an adjunct professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University and The Kings University, an experienced servant leader, a retired aerospace engineering manager, a big rig truck driver, an active community volunteer, and an entrepreneurial business owner. He can be reached at www.timelyleadership.com.