Being a first-class noticer allows you to recognize talent, identify opportunities, and avoid pitfalls. Leaders who succeed again & again are geniuses at grasping context. This is one of those characteristics, like taste, that is difficult to break down into its component parts. But the ability to weigh a welter of factors some as subtle as how very different groups of people will interpret a gesture, is one of the hallmarks of a true leader. – Business gurus Warren Bennie & Robert Thomas, authors of Geeks & Geezers
When I was growing up & even into my adult years, my parents, siblings, & close friends would always comment on my staring at people in public. I could sit for hours and watch people – how they interact with one another at restaurants, the manner in which they greet one another at church, & how children responded to the adults they encountered. Each observation left me wondering about the dynamic of their individual lives & experiences they may have caused them to act in such a manner. What might have been considered a rude social habit, has helped me develop my “noticing” skills! Every moldmaker possesses this gift of observation & notices even the slightest subtleties within people & processes.
True leaders recognize the importance of details, & when you work with people daily, you begin to understand that details make all the difference in the world. Whether you are leading a large group meeting or engaging with customers & colleagues one-on-one, paying attention to nuances, changes, & unfamiliar behavior of people separates leaders from managers. Leaders notice that change in a person’s energy, their lack of ideas, unwillingness to change, or their hesitancy to share a thought or idea. Leaders notice untapped talent, aspirations that may have gone unvoiced, & those quiet moments when a tough decision needs to be made. Leaders develop relationships with people in order to explore these moments further & through that exploration comes growth. There have been countless times when I noticed something with an individual & stopped to address it. Whether it was a change in hairstyle or overall demeanor, the fact that it was noticed forged a strong relationship between the two of us because it provided a platform for connection.
In a time in society that is dominated by technology and digital communication, it is extremely easy for leaders to lose the human connection. With information changing at the touch of a button, there is no substitute for understanding people. Leadership is the ability to intrinsically motivate individuals to expose those talents & abilities which were previously concealed & to use those talents and abilities for the greater good. As a first-class noticer, moldmakers can serve as catalysts in aligning people with the organization’s vision & individual purpose.