Perspective is defined as the capacity to view things in their true sense or level of importance. So having the proper perspective would mean that our view of things or situations would be accurate, sensible, and/or appropriate.
I recall my first job after graduating from college. I had taken a job with one of those national public accounting firms. The first year was miserable. Portable computers had just been deployed, I had no idea how to use them, and the folks I worked for had no patience for lack of proficiency. There was just plain hazing on new folks in the office (they weren’t that concerned about engagement). The firm had hired too many people when I started and told us that half of us would be let go in six month pending results of the CPA exam (talk about pressure). That first year I just tried to keep my head down, learn, work hard, and pass that exam. I really had no idea what was going on around me. Everything was just moving so fast, and I was just trying to keep up.
In my third year, I was promoted to a supervisor level. I was now going to scheduling meetings, attending billing meeting, interacting more with senior leaders, and really seeing how the business was run. For the first time, I had a much clearer perspective of the environment and business I was working in. Not all of it was positive, as I saw a lot of things that were unsettling and disturbing. Things; however, were moving a little slower for me, and I could grasp what was going on. I finally had a solid perspective.
Years later, I can’t stress enough how important perspective is for those in leadership positions. Whether you are leading others in a work setting, facing a personal challenge, or just working through the basic challenges of life, perspective is so important. Here are four key concepts that will not only help you with perspective, but also help those you lead have the proper perspective.
1. Define the win. Regardless of what we are facing on a daily basis, we need to know what success is. It sounds so simple, but don’t take it for granted. Can we concisely define what real success looks like? Do those following us know what success is? If it’s a personal challenge, what’s the win for you? Before we start any business, any operation, any shift, any personal endeavor, take time to define the win. Just defining what you need to achieve to be successful won’t guarantee success, but not defining it will guarantee you won’t succeed!
2. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. It’s real easy to get wrapped up in all the reasons we shouldn’t succeed. We don’t have what we need. The people around us don’t care. The obstacles are just too tough. Those thoughts can get going and just spiral out of control. Rather than focusing on all these negative things, take some time and focus on what we/you do have. Build on what you have. Make the most of what’s available to you. Hey, I have spent my entire life having to overcome. I have been blessed more than I deserve and recognize that every day. Make the most of what you do have!
3. Focus on serving, not to be served. Whether you are leading others or just battling a personal challenge, there is something special about focusing our attention on others and not self. Servant leadership is a concept that just allows us to focus on the followers. That focus drives our passion for leading and impacting others. When we take the focus off of ourselves, we can see more clearly and our perspective improves!
4. Eliminate variables – Simplify. I use the term “narrow the focus” quite a bit. To broaden that concept, I would say remove as many variables as possible to simplify things for you and your followers. Clutter in our lives clouds perspective. We often think of things we need to start doing, but we also need to evaluate things that need to be stopped, removed, or modified. If you want to clean up our perspective, we may need to clean up the things that are draining our attention, focus, and thoughts to what really matters (or at least what really matters right now).