Have you ever found yourself making this statement, “I just call it like I see it” or have you known a leader, friend or family member who says this?
Calling something as you “see” it can be strength. People are not left wondering what you think or how you feel, which can be refreshing and provide clear communication. So many leaders “beat around the bush” and their teams are not clear on what they want.
The challenge in “calling it like I see it” is one key word, “I.” We all see things differently in the world. One of the most thought provoking movies I have seen that illustrates this is the movie Crash. If you have not seen the movie, I highly recommend it. It will open your eyes to your own personal judgments and the importance of creating strong paradigm shifts. Just about the time you think you have a character figured out in the movie, something shifts and your paradigm is rocked. You will find yourself in deep thought and mentally stimulated at the end of the movie.
Similar to Crash , in our leadership when we “call it like I see it,” we may learn that the way we see it could be very different from how another person sees it based upon their perspective.
I could place 5 people at 5 different vantage points to view an automobile accident. Each person would come back with a different story of what happened, simply based on the location from where they were able to view the accident. I am confident each person viewing the accident in this experiment would feel quite confident in their story based upon what they saw. They would each be “calling it like I see it.”
As leaders we need to guard against “calling it like I see it” until we know exactly what “it” is that “I” just “saw.” To help you, try the stop, look and listen technique:
- Stop – and think before you judge or speak and ask yourself “is there another way to see this?”
- Look – inside to determine how your beliefs, judgments and personal opinions could be affecting your response
- Listen – ask someone else what they think, saw or concluded about the situation
Thinking before speaking, drawing judgment and conclusions will help in the following areas:
- You will reduce the times you have to come back and clean up a mess made based upon wrong assumptions you made
- You will build trust with people by not going straight to conclusions
- You will learn to broadly scan and take in all that could be going on and not just what you see from where you stand
- You will build relationships through asking for feedback to learn whether what you saw, judged, viewed, etc., is the same as what others observed.
I am sure there are other benefits to thinking before speaking, judging or drawing conclusions; I would like to hear your thoughts.
– Michelle Braden is CEO of MSBCoach. For over 17 years, she has coached and trained business owners, executives, non-profit leaders, teams, managers and individuals in transition.