Any photography enthusiastic understands that, whilst the subject remains the same, the choice of lens will change how it is viewed. What is true for cameras is also true for people, as we all see the world through our own lens of perception and bias.
A wide angle lens gives you the ‘big picture’, whilst other times you will want to ‘zoom in’ to see detail. To have only one lens would cause you to miss out on so much.
Let me ask you a question; “Do you like to have the data points and build a picture from what you have, or do you prefer to start with a big picture and then work out the details later?”
Neither of these approaches are right or wrong, they are both useful, but the premise of this post, is that to be an effective leader, you need both, plus the ability to focus.
Some leaders focus on the positive and some on the negative and it shows in how they speak. What we say is a refection of the ‘image’ we have created in our mind about people or opportunities. As you listen to what people say, you get a clear picture of how they have ‘framed’ an experience. Becoming aware of how you are speaking will give you great feedback on what lens you have been using.
Effective leadership and innovation require seeing things from multiple perspectives, and with experience you come to realize that there is never just one right lens. To maximize your impact, make it a habit to consciously look at someone or something through a different lens.
This mental flexibility will pay dividends in work and life. I urge you to take one situation or relationship and look at it through a different lens, you might be surprised by what you see.
If you have any examples of how you have been using ‘different lenses’ feel free to comment on this post.