Leadership Tip: Change Your Perspective

If you keep running into the same problem, the issue may have more to do with your view–not what you do.

3d glassesChanging your perspective is hard, especially if you’ve been seeing things the same way for a long time. Yet it’s one of the most important capabilities of successful leaders.

Being able to change how you view a person or situation opens new possibilities for you, your team, your business or organization. It makes you more adaptable, coachable and resilient.

What’s even more powerful is when you can help others change how they see themselves.

(A topic for another blog post.)

Take any challenging situation and practice viewing it through a different lens. You’ll see new dimensions, a better picture. It’s like seeing an object for the first time through 3D glasses.

Some examples:

What if you lost a piece of business? It’s easy to see that as a problem. It could be a blessing in disguise freeing you up to focus on better business.

What if one of your top performers suddenly makes unusual mistakes.  She could be going through personal difficulty. Could be bored and ready for new responsibility. Maybe she’s responding to something you’re doing differently. Choose your view.

I hear leaders complain about a common mentality that appears in those they lead–the “we’ve always done it that way” mentality. The irony is that many of those leaders are doing the same thing. They just don’t see it in themselves.

People are creatures of habit, so it’s easy to lock into practices that are familiar. Some companies have traditions they are unwilling to break–even at the expense of angering or disrespecting some employees. They are unaware of the negative impact.

Even if you are aware of a problem, you may still struggle to break the habit of your normal approach–like trying to turn on a light switch when you know the power is off.

So put on your 3D glasses and follow these 3 Do’s:

1. Be aware of assumptions you make.  Ask, “Do I know this to be true?” “What else might be true?”

You might assume a person does not speak up in a meeting because they lack confidence. But maybe they are good at listening.

You might assume a parent with small children does not want to travel. Maybe they would welcome the opportunity.

My kids think our golden retriever gained 10 pounds overnight. I know the dog just got groomed and looks fluffy. Same view. Different understandings.

2. Expand your view. Ask, “What else might be possible?”

When your team says, “There’s no way we can do that,” ask, “What else might be possible?”

When your prospect says, “That won’t work for us,” ask, “What else might work?”

3. Get perspective from other people. Ask, “What do you see?”

You may see someone as angry. They may see the same person as determined.

You may see a situation as hopeless. They may see potential.

Over the years I have changed my own perspective about myself, my role, my business and those I serve. (That’s you!) I know I tend to see things differently compared to many people.

I didn’t see that as a strength until others pointed it out.

How you choose to view yourself, your life, work and relationships is critical to your success. Choose your view wisely.

Keep an open mindset. As a leader, your view influences those you lead beyond what you may even realize. Be willing to change it when you need to.

What situation can you view differently to help you gain better perspective and results?

PS- Lately I’ve been helping leaders and teams refresh their vision and clarify their view of the future–a fundamental step in your strategic planning process.

If you’d like my help in that area, please let me know. 

Fall schedule is filling.