Real Life Leadership Blog

Are you missing crucial information?

In my new series of real life leadership reflections, I’ll share some of the lessons from my own leadership journey.

“What you notice is not all there is, but you may think it is.”

I was reminded of this quote last week, where I missed something fairly crucial with one of my team members.

What I was noticing was through my rosy lenses. When it became apparent I had missed something, it was a tough moment. How had I been so blind?

Everyone has a set of lenses through which you see the world, with everything being filtered through your personal lenses. Your lenses are made up of how you think and feel – your emotions, experiences and conditioning.

Often you put blinkers around those lenses too, to further narrow down what you are seeing. For me, the blinkers of busy-ness and focus gave me little space to expand my vision.

The image of the torchbeam below shows how these lenses and filters narrow your field of vision, with the result that you can miss things. Not noticing a sunny day, or a partner’s new haircut is one thing. But as a leader sometimes the things we miss are crucial to the future of our business, or our colleagues’ happiness or safety.

Taken from Soft Skills for Tough Jobs, 2022

I know this stuff. I wrote the book after all. And I felt as if what I was noticing was the ‘correct’ view. And then something emerged from the shadows that I had missed. I am so grateful to my colleague for helping me realise how locked in I had got.

So, this week, my real life leadership lesson is to check in on my filters. To consciously shine my torchbeam on other areas. To question some of my assumptions and patterns I may be locked into. To be aware of my blinkers.

I feel a lot better for doing so, with more clarity and a wider perspective comes a better potential future.┬áMy team-mate is just fine in case you were wondering. Amazing in fact and I couldn’t be prouder to work with them!

What do you need to do to expand what you notice today? What are you missing due to your lenses and blinkers? It might be something crucial.


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