It's all about your perspective

“One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.” - Tim Burton

After a particularly long and bumpy flight, the crew was tired. This was even made more apparent by the rough landing. This particular airline had a policy that the pilot must stand by the door as people exit to thank them for flying with the airline. The pilot was dreading this because of the landing but he stood faithfully by. Surprisingly enough, the people filed off and none said a word. Then came the last passenger, an elderly lady walking with a cane. As she got up to the captain, she said, “Can I ask a question?” “Sure,” answered the captain. “Did we land or were we shot down?”

I’ve been on a few flights when I felt the same way. And in leadership, there have been many times when I felt like maybe I had been shot down.

Our perspective in leadership is shaped by many factors. Often our perspective is driven by our own experiences or biases. It can be driven by the opinions of others. But one thing is certain, we all have perspectives that influence us.

As a leader, the accuracy of your perspective is important. You want to be accurately informed and make decisions that reflect sound judgment. But sometimes our perspective turns out to be wrong. Here’s how.


Nothing alters our perspective like our attitude, especially if it’s a bad one. Your perspective is what you see and your attitude determines how you see or interpret it. If your attitude is one that is predisposed to being negative then that’s the lens through which you see things.

This can have unintended consequences for you as a leader. If your attitude bends toward being a bad one or is predominantly skeptical, then do the people around you truly get a fair shake from you?

Having a good attitude is important to you as a leader. But it takes discipline to work on it and keep it positive. You may have a dozen reasons a day to justify a bad attitude. I get it. But the effects of your attitude determine your perspective. So don’t let a bad attitude reflect in a bad way on your leadership.

Takeaway: Your people are looking to you for leadership and the right perspective to guide them. Watch your attitude.


How many times have you made a wrong assumption about a person? How many times have you made a wrong assumption about a goal or project within your organization? I know I have. And thank goodness I was wrong!

The mark of sure and steady leadership is found in not rushing to judgment and in not making wrong assumptions. It’s giving other people the same benefit of the doubt you’d want to be given yourself.

The thin line between your perspective and instincts can be a hard one to differentiate at times. On both counts, you want to get it right. One is innate and learned over time (instincts), while the other is fluid and should never be rushed.

Takeaway: Your people are looking to you for leadership and for someone to believe in them - not someone to write them off because of a wrong assumption you’ve made about them.

©2019 Doug Dickerson


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