I wear glasses – well I should say I HAVE glasses. I don’t wear them all that often. My lenses correct for two different things, reading up close and seeing things clearly at a distance. When it comes to interacting with people, let me suggest there are two different views, two different perspectives we need to have.
We need to see and accept people for who they are right now, and at the same time see them for all their potential – for who they can be.
This is a kind of “double vision” that gifted leaders have. They can spot latent talent. They see what a person can do given the right opportunity and motivation – who they can become. Most of us are too quick to assess, to judge a person based solely on where they are in the present moment. It is a beautiful thing to be able to recognize human potential and create those moments of opportunity where a person if properly challenged, can rise. Smart leaders can see gifts, talents, and possibility in someone else that perhaps that person can’t see in themselves.
Accepting a person where they are with their flaws, failures, insecurities, and quirks while recognizing their potential is a delicate dance. If you’ve ever watched the home remodeling shows on HGTV, you see how the designers look at a house that has lost its curb appeal due to a dated layout. They can see what’s possible. Even before a draft or blueprint of the remodeling job is completed, the designer can see in their mind’s eye what that house could become with the right modifications.
Reviving a house, a car, or a piece of furniture into something more useful, functional, and pleasing in its design is a gift. How much greater a gift you have when you can accept someone for who they are right now and, at the same time, see their incredible future potential. Better yet, when you invest time and effort in bringing out that potential in others.
So in your daily interaction with people, let me challenge you to look past how a person may be acting or reacting to you right now and see them for who they can be. This requires a level of vulnerability. You run the risk of being disappointed. Just because you see the potential someone else has, doesn’t mean they will agree with you or pursue that potential for themselves. But you can do your part. You be the person who recognizes their potential and does all that you can to call that forth. Create an opportunity for someone else to rise and step into their higher potential. Not everyone will respond to what you see. That’s OK. Be a person who is known for both accepting people where they are and, at the same time, encouraging, challenging, and creating an opportunity for them to become something more.
Do this, and you will live a life that others want to emulate and be around. Your sphere of influence will expand as you make those around you better. That is authentic leadership!