So, what is the difference between looking and seeing?
To look means to direct your eyes in a particular direction, whilst in order to see, you must notice or become consciously aware of someone or something by using your eyes. Becoming aware is the key. It’s the wakening of the senses, an experiential process. For some, this comes naturally, for many of us, it is a skill that must be practiced.
Seeing is not only noticing that something is, but understanding it, attending to it and looking past the obvious. This takes time, patience, and attention. Our eyes are open most of the day, but we certainly don’t spend the entire time seeing. Learning to see, to appreciate and to understand takes time as the neural pathways in the brain need to develop – this develops full visual comprehension. Why is it worth doing? How does it improve our leadership?
- Today, the most successful leaders don’t just outcompete, they redefine the terms of competition by embracing a one of a kind idea in a world of copycat thinking. The best leaders see things that other leaders don’t. This promotes innovation of new revenue generating pipelines and opportunity to positively impact organisational culture.
- It’s all about real conversations that leaders engage in with their people to find out what is really happening for them. If you see rather than look – you engage in the conversation and don’t lose the less obvious triggers for action. It is NOT anything like the old “manage by wandering around chatting and saying hi.”
- Seeing rather than looking as a leader is all about leaders being vulnerable. It has nothing to do with playing safe and everything to do with taking financial, commercial, strategic and service delivery risk. A different kind of risk that isn’t often discussed in leadership or governance theory is relational risk – the ability to cultivate high-quality relationships within your organisation and clients by being vulnerable with information and emotion.
- For the organisation as a whole, seeing rather than looking will nurture high achievement because the culture will consistently enable each individual to be at their best, deliver and meet or exceed their potential. For the individual, it is even more simple but important – they will feel connected, they will feel significant and that they belong.
Are you looking or seeing as a leader? Reflect on this today and begin practicing tomorrow.
Director at Osteopathy Australia