THE 360 DEGREE PERSPECTIVE
Effective leaders practice seeing from different perspectives. In the military, we conducted reconnaissance missions by employing a clover leaf pattern to observe the target from 360 degrees.
By Leif Babin
The audio version is available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcast, Sticher, and RadioPublic.
A Key Component of Leadership
Effective leaders practice seeing from different perspectives. In the military, we conducted reconnaissance missions by employing a clover leaf pattern to observe the target from 360 degrees. This 360-degree perspective was valuable because you often miss things when looking from only one direction. It’s the same thing in leadership. You have to be able to think about what other people are seeing.
You have to be able to see the world through the eyes of your team and the eyes of your boss. What are their priorities, and what are they most concerned about? You have to be able to see through the eyes of your customers and even your competition.
Never corner an opponent, and always assist [them] to save face.
At the Somme, Liddell Hart witnessed what may be the worst slaughter in the shortest timeframe in human history. He believed the quickest means to achieve the goal—the surrender of your opponent and the cessation of conflict—was not by cornering them, but by allowing them to save face. If your opponent sees an outcome that preserves their dignity, they are far more likely to concede.
Put yourself in [their] shoes—so as to see things through [their] eyes.
The power of detachment is the power to see from other perspectives. The solutions are often unclear or even impossible when we only see our point of view. But when we see from the perspective of others, the answers can become clearer.
Avoid Self-Righteousness Like the Devil…
When others disagree or don’t see things our way, we are tempted to assign sinister intent. Liddell Hart warns us to “avoid self-righteousness like the devil.” We often accuse others of failure when we have committed the same or worse. Operating with humility and taking ownership will allow us to build effective relationships, move forward as a team, implement leadership solutions, and get problems solved.
“She probably thinks she knows better than me,” a leader told us. He disagreed with a peer, another leader, on the best strategy for the company. J.P. Dinnell and I were having a discussion with this leader about their misalignment.
“Why do you think she disagrees with you?” J.P. asked. “Let’s look at this from her perspective. Do you think she wants the company to fail?”
“No,” said the leader. “I think she wants us to win.”
J.P. dug deeper. “Do you think she wants to make you look bad?”
“I don’t think that’s the case,” the leader admitted. “But I’m having trouble seeing her perspective when my way is clearly the better way.”
“That doesn’t seem to be clear to her,” I said.
“If she wants the company to win, and she isn’t just trying to make you look bad,” I continued, “then why does she want to do things differently?”
“I really don’t know,” the leader answered.
“I think you need to ask her to help you see her perspective,” J.P. recommended.
“When you ask her and you truly listen, you might find that her way is actually the better way for the company to achieve its objectives,” J.P. said. “Or she might be much more willing to listen to you once you’ve listened to her.”
“When you see her perspective, you will be much better equipped to offer a face-saving solution that she will agree to, and then you can move forward together,” I added. “There is a leadership solution to this problem. But it requires you to examine the problem from her perspective.”
This week, think about what others are thinking about. See the world from the perspective of your team, boss, peers, senior leadership, customers, subcontractors, spouse, and kids. Identify a problem you’ve been up against and try to reexamine that problem from a different perspective. Develop a solution to the problem and implement it. GO GET SOME.
President & Co-Founder of Echelon Front
Leif Babin, a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer, is the President and co-founder of Echelon Front LLC, a leadership consulting firm. Leif is the co-author, alongside Jocko Willink, of the New York Times bestsellers, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win, and the Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win. Echelon Front teaches the principles of Extreme Ownership and the Dichotomy of Leadership to help leaders apply them in their world to solve problems, accomplish their goals, and achieve victory in business and life.
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