animal, animal photography, barbaricWomen always swooned when they saw my big, hazel eyes and long, dark eyelashes!  Of course I was just 5 or 6 at the time.  My eyes may not be as prominent now, but along with my other senses, they serve me extraordinarily well.  They are my key to being a great observer of the world around me.

I can enter a room and take in all the details, sights, smells, textures, people…all at once.  How about you?  Are you good at observing your environment?  More importantly, are you aware of the feelings, reactions, body language, and energy that other people express?

An effective and respected leader will be a keen observer of others, starting with self.  True leaders are aware of their mind chatter, judgments, attitudes, and game-playing.  For example: Is your feeling of being a victim affecting how you treat others at home or work?  Does your envy keeping you from achieving your own goals?  Does your fear of bullying keep you from interacting with key players in your corporate world?

Even the most confident of leaders will discover moments of having “feet of clay.”  At those times we need to refrain from harsh self-judgment and simple forgive ourselves with an abundance of compassion.

The same is true when observing others. Often the reason someone comes to our attention is because they are not fulfilling our preconceived expectations or promoting our desired outcomes. Honestly, how often have we really taken the time to observe someone who was working and living up to their potential, or who had successfully reached a goal, no matter how small, or who had addressed important challenges?  AND then said something about good?

Our powers of observation are sometimes lost in the miasma of the internet, text messages, memes, and having one’s eyes glued to a telephone screen.  Our senses are overloaded in distraction. We’re often too busy to observe and respond, too self-focused to realize that someone nearby needs our help.

Respected leaders will work to clear their senses, get away from the phone, and use more intuition at home and work. Observation before responding becomes the top priority.  How else do you think Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway to be one of the most profitable companies in the world? And the most successful parenting usually begins with keen observation.

If you want to be a respected leader (and I know you do!), begin by focusing on your goals; but that’s not enough.  You need also to equip yourself and everyone else involved in your orbit with the practical tools and encouragement they need to help all of you reach your goals. That means careful observation from start to finish.

© Copyright Michael Parise 2017
Portions excerpted from Michael’s book: Life Interrupted, Taking Charge After Everything Has Changed

Since 1979 Michael has worked with individuals and groups to take full advantage interruptions and changes to balance responsibilities, simplify their lives, and find greater productivity and peace.Want Michael to speak for your next event?  Or hire him as your personal executive Life Coach to improve your relationships at home and at work? Call 813-444-9641 or email:

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