The Way You See Yourself is the Way You See the World
Perspective is a way of seeing.
We see the present and future as we are.
Your way of seeing doesn’t change the world; it shapes your approach to the world.
Perspective births attitude. Your orientation to the world emerges from the way you see the world, not the world itself.
Perspective answers, “HOW will you face the future?” A leadership perspective on COVID-19 makes difficulty an opportunity.
Perspective is the big picture.
Perspective is a treetop view. Solutions are hacked out in the weeds.
Perspective doesn’t eliminate challenge. Sometimes perspective creates challenge. If you see COVID-19 as opportunity, how will you make the most of it?
Perspective sets direction but doesn’t offer specific solutions.
Perspective on yourself:
The most powerful perspective is the one you have on yourself.
Self-definition drives the direction of life.
When you see yourself as powerful, the future is opportunity. When you see yourself as helpless, the world is a threat.
Power enables action. Helplessness is permission NOT to act.
Self-definition determines action.
You might see yourself as a FIXER. Your stress comes from the need to give solutions. You might see yourself as a COLLABORATOR. Tension comes from needing people to be vulnerable, open, and honest.
The expectations you impose on others reflects the perspective you have on yourself.
- Bossy leaders expect compliance.
- Visionary leaders expect initiative and boldness.
- Servant leaders expect connection and shared commitment.
- Democratic leaders expect collaboration.
- Fearful leaders expect protection.
- Bureaucratic leaders expect stability.
The way you think about yourself comes out in your feet and hands.
The great work of leadership is helping people define themselves.
- Explore a teammate’s true contribution.
- How might personal stories reveal or shape self-definition?
- What do complaints say about perspective?
- What do teammates admire in others?
A way of seeing becomes a way of being.
How do you see the power of perspective at work in your organization or team? Yourself?
How might leaders shape perspective?
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When you see yourself as powerful, the future is opportunity. When you see yourself as helpless, the world is a threat. I will rephrase this one,”when you see yourself as positive, the future is opportunity. When you see yourself as negative the world is a threat. One sees this dynamic recently within the different approaches to the virus. Does the Hydroxychloroquine mixture have potential to help and has it? On the positive I’ve heard where it does and has helped and is safe. On the negative the President touted it and even used it and if one does not like him it’s not a good choice. Perspective in everything drives our reactions whether powerful, positive, helpless or negative.
Thanks Roger. Nice use of language. The other thing I take from you comment is about decision-making. We like to think we make logical decisions. But, if we don’t like someone we don’t like their decision. It’s not about logic. It’s about liking or not liking.
The only reason I mention the above is that it’s a useful reminder that we make emotional decisions.
Dan we are all human so we tend to make decisions from an emotional perspective. True logic sometimes (ok always) goes out the door when we let emotion rule first and we have plenty of examples recently showing that.
Buying a car also illustrates the point. We might think we’re making a logical decision, but it’s all about how we feel.
Our perspective is influenced by our core beliefs, values and self-concept.
The Theory X Manager believes people are irresponsible, lazy, and unmotivated. He looks for those traits in people and responds accordingly. Theory Y–just the opposite.
Our self-concept has a lot of parts including self-image, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. It influences how we see ourselves and the world, as well as how we process information and interpret events.
People with high self-confidence and self-esteem
—-Expect to be accepted by others
—-Believe he/she can influence others
—-Willing to speak up
—-Willing to take risks
—-Able to consider negative feedback without being devastated
For me, it boils down to self-talk. How accurate and growth oriented is the person’s self-talk? Is the person’s self-talk negative and self-limiting?
If the leader can probe and dig and uncover the person’s self-talk, and re-frame it where necessary, the leader is helping the person see himself and the world in new ways.
I ask my students–What happens when a person with a negative self-image receives positive feedback?
Thanks Paul. “For me, it boils down to self-talk. How accurate and growth oriented is the person’s self-talk? Is the person’s self-talk negative and self-limiting?”
It seems that self-talk expresses AND shapes our perceptions. Perhaps, confirms our perceptions is better?
I’ve heard it said that we should talk to ourselves the same we we talk to a close friend. We might try talking out loud to ourselves as if we are a friend.
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In my work with leaders, some of the most challenging situations have involved people who find it impossible not to dwell on their weaknesses. We can push strengths all day long, and their focus is going to be fixing what’s wrong. That is a perspective issue, for sure, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of helping others uncover a different view and lean into their talents and core strengths.
Thanks Christi. You can talk till your blue in the face, but you can’t convince someone they are strong when they cling to their weakness.
I wonder if throwing them in the deep end and walking away would jolt them into seeing their strength? Maybe not.
Perhaps the question, “What advantage are you getting from your inability to act?”
Sharing this with my children.
We have to be willing to wander outside of our comfort zones to mature, learn new things, challenge our ability to grow. Often we stifle ourselves when we play it safe all the time.
Ambitious individuals will have the power to move forward and climb every mountain, the rest will stand back and watch!
Dan, I’m looking for clarification in your sentence:” The way you see yourself comes out in your hands and in your feet.” I have an interpretation in my mind about what you mean there but I’m curious is my assumption correct? Tell me more about your meaning, please.
Hi Natasha. Thanks for asking. The hands and feet metaphor speaks to actions, habitual behaviors, expectations. The phrase follow a list of six ways we might view ourselves and six associated expectations. Those expectations find expression in the way we treat others. (hands and feet) thanks again for asking. Best wishes
“The expectations you impose on others reflects the perspective you have on yourself.” This is sometimes the biggest weakness of all for me. I don’t see myself as anything “too special”, but I think I don’t give myself as much credit as I should for my capacity and it warps my perspective.
When you are visionary and democratic — thinking your team are open, optimistic and ready to work — sometimes you are disappointed to find they see you as demanding and autocratic. You can ask for as much as you give, and expect the best from your team, but remember you might have to reassign or step it down for those that don’t reach as far as you credit their talent.