The Eyes of the Enlightened Leader

Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. For example, you can’t see germs,  but we now know that certain germs are deadly. You can’t see electricity, but you use electricity every single day when you flip on a light, watch your television, or mix up a protein shake. The same is true in your organizational life and leadership role: there are many things going on around you that you can’t see, but that can either be as deadly as a germ or as beneficial as electricity. In No-Drama Leadership the second section in the book is entitled “The Eyes to See.” The perspective I take is that enlightened leaders see differently. Here are some of the ways enlightened leaders see differently, as well as the leadership applications.

See the Truth
Your mind thinks over 60,000 thoughts per day and at least 85 % of those thoughts are negative or repetitive. Much of what you believe to be true is just programming or old scripts you have adopted as fact. The brain likes closure, so when there is ambiguity–when you don’t have an answer, you make something up. In addition, you can only see what you believe to be true or possible. In psychology this is called confirmation bias.

Leadership Application

1. As a leader you must increase self-awareness. You must discern fact from fiction so that you don’t get caught up in assumptions and story telling.

2. Understand that your employees will make things up when you don’t keep them informed and in the loop. That’s just how the brain works.

See Others Differently
Enlightened leaders use Super Vision rather than supervision. They see more for others than others see for themselves. They view their employees as capable of growth, and they work as a partner to help others grow and meet their potential.

Leadership Application

 1. When you see more for others you expect more. You don’t buy into a hard-luck or victim story. You help people rise to the occasion.

2  You use coaching instead of discipline to increase performance.

See Yourself Differently
The way you see yourself determines your behavior. If you identify with being a leader, you will lead. If you identify with being liked, you will sacrifice your leadership and tough decisions in order to please others. Identity is no small thing when it comes to leadership. To consciously build an identity a leader needs to define and declare her values and definition of leadership.

 Leadership Application

  1. New leaders need a period of orientation and adaption before formally becoming a leader.

 2. When you declare values it’s easier to course-correct misalignment.

Seeing differently is a learned skill, however it takes a concentrated focus and effort to make the shift. The invisible realm of leadership is a new frontier for harnessing the power that can transform culture in the workplace.

Marlene-Blk4Marlene Chism is an executive educator, consultant, and author of Stop Workplace Drama, (Wiley 2011) and No-Drama Leadership (Bibliomotion 2015). She works with executives, and high-performing leaders who want to transform culture in the workplace. To explore opportunities please email