In a recent conversation with a funny and smart executive, he said to us, “I know that I need to get some perspective on this issue, but I haven’t got a clue how to go about it!”
We are always quite impressed when leaders in major positions can talk with us about their struggles with leadership. It’s hard for people in positions of authority to acknowledge that at times they have no idea what to do next. Many have read the books and articles about leadership and many of them nod their heads in agreement but really have no idea what to actually do in the moment.
That’s where we come in. We love taking the complex concepts of leadership, management, and career leadership and breaking them into actionable nuggets so that with a little effort and some practice you can step into your leadership more fully, with a deeper sense of what to actually do in the moment.
So, when you need to get some perspective, here are some things you can do:
- Stand on the Balcony: Imagine yourself watching yourself interact in the situation from a balcony 15 feet above the action. What are you doing? How are you moving? What are others doing? Who speaks first? Who seems to feel confident? What do you observe about the patterns that are facilitating movement and hindering movement?
- Ask Yourself the 5 Whys: As you are thinking about the situation you are in where you need some perspective, ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and then write the answer to the question. Then ask yourself why that’s the answer and write the answer to that question. Then ask yourself why that’s the answer, etc. We often stop digging pretty quickly when we are stressed, but going deeper with the 5 whys will help you to get below your first thought to a new perspective.
- Bring in a Devil’s Advocate: Think about who can really challenge your thinking, ask the hard questions, present different viewpoints, disagree and debate with you about how you are currently thinking. This is an incredibly powerful way to get a new perspective and often works great in a team. If you rotate the role of devil’s advocate, you have a way to challenge the group that is assigned and therefore neither personal nor the burden of just one member.
- Present the Counter-Argument: In the same way a devil’s advocate can bring a different perspective to a conversation or a group, you can pull back from your current way of thinking and draft a counter argument on behalf of an entirely different approach. It takes some discipline but it’s very powerful.
- Talk to the Toddler: Think about how you would explain the situation you are facing to a 4 or 5 year old. You have to get very simple, clear, and concrete so that it makes sense to them and in doing so, you will see what you are doing and planning in a whole new light.
Getting perspective can be a game changer when you are either stuck in one way of thinking or are facing choices that make you uneasy, so it’s tempting to play it safe. Try out these different approaches and let us know what works best. Also, let us know your tricks for getting perspective!
Never miss a post—sign up to have the Monday Morning Business Coach delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address and name below (only your first name is required!).