Have you ever left a movie and talked with someone about it, and it seemed like the two of you saw two completely different movies? You each noticed different things, cared about different aspects and were moved in different ways by different parts of the film?
Since we each have our own powerful perceptions, that is easy to understand. Each person sees what his/her brain was looking for and therefore “wanted” to see.
The same applies in the workplace. Consider these situations:
You’re providing employees feedback
On one hand, no matter how good your intentions or how constructive you are trying to be, employees will often only hear the negative stuff. That’s in part because many leaders (hopefully, not you) only offer feedback of the negative variety, so employees are groomed to expect the worst. I think many leaders don’t do this intentionally; they just struggle to find the positive things to comment on. Again, that comes back to perception. If you are only looking for the negative qualities in an employee, that’s all you will see. To give more positive feedback and support, you need to first adjust your vision and look for what people are doing well.
You’re facing a challenge
Many people look at every situation and see only the problem. They see all the reasons things can go wrong and all the cracks in the concrete, so to speak. Others can look at the situation, and while recognizing the problems, see solutions and opportunities. You want to fall into the latter category because if you only focus on what could go wrong, you hurt your chances of pulling through the challenge. You will delay progress and struggle to find solutions that work. More than that, your attitude most likely will rub off on your employees, and overall morale and productivity will take a hit.
Problems and challenges are inevitable, but rather than obsessing over the negatives, focus on solutions and look for the opportunities.
You’re forming a world view
Many people will tell you to stop watching the news because it will only bring you down. While I agree that a huge inflow of negative images isn’t what you want to continually plant in your brain, you must recognize the power of perception too.
When you watch the news, what do you see and hear? Some people see opportunity and some see strife. Some see change and some see chaos. Some see devastation, and others see recovery. In every case, the same worlds create different visions for every person, based on what that person is looking for.
How can you shift your perception so that you are more positive and open-minded? You can choose what you want to look for and increase the chances that you will see it. If you aren’t seeing what you want, adjust your vision and make some new choices.