Seeing Others

Seeing Ohers by Dr. Robert Gerwig

Photo by Author

There was no escaping the big eyes of the tarsier! They seemed to follow me. … On the neighboring island of Bohol lives a small “monkey” called the tarsier. These nocturnal creatures are small, “cuddly”, and deadly hunters. At night, they cover approximately 1½ kilometers leaping from tree to tree hunting insects such as crickets and grasshoppers.

You can see this particular tarsier, and others like it, at a tarsier sanctuary on Bohol. The sanctuary was established to protect the tarsier, raise funding for projects, educate the public on tarsiers and the role they play in the local ecosystem, and provide an opportunity for eco-tourists to see the tarsier up-close-and-personal.

As leaders, we need to develop our eyesight so that we can see others – including ourselves. Seeing others and self-awareness are both traits of world-class leadership. When you see others, several positive things happen:

  1. They feel acknowledged
  2. They feel important
  3. They feel worthy
  4. They feel “part of the team”
  5. They give discretionary (extra) effort
  6. You feel good
  7. You gain insight
  8. You improve your sight
  9. You become “other” focused
  10. You increase your impact

At some level, all of us want to be “noticed” – seen. We want others to acknowledge our existence. And our worth. We want to add value. Be part of the team. … We want to matter.

Develop your sight. Open your eyes. Look for people. Look at them. Ask questions. Engage. Be genuine. Find out what they do. Smile.

Often (ok, maybe most of the time), executives and leaders in position of “high” organizational authority see others at their level only. We often look for others at our level. We see our peers and our superiors. We know where they are, what they’re wearing, where they’ve been, and what they do. The rich and famous have paparazzi who follow them around. How ‘bout the common person or those even lower on the socio-economic ladder? Any paparazzi? Anyone noticing them? Anyone seeing the janitor? The fast-food chef? The plumber? The receptionist? The gas station cashier?

Our peers, subordinates, and superiors are important. They deserve our sight and attention. And so do the people who are “off the grid.” The ordinary people. Those who can be (and often are) invisible. Look for them. Talk to them. Acknowledge them. See them.

Seeing others is a strong tool in your emotional intelligence toolkit. Don’t use it for manipulation or personal gain. Use it because it’s the right thing to do. Use it because these people matter.

In the end, you may be surprised at the benefits of seeing others. You’ll learn things. You’ll gain fresh insights. You’ll become a better person. And maybe, you’ll make a new friend. Or a hundred.

The tarsier has big eyes. Great leaders do too. Develop your eyesight. Seeing others will benefit everyone – you, them, and your organization.

How do you see others?

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

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