Less than a year ago, our family transplanted ourselves from the Washington, DC metro area to Leeds, UK. Being new to a place (a country, a job, anywhere) heightens our senses and gives a gift of being able to notice what others might take for granted. We love the proximity to countryside as well as a cool city, the laid-back, down-to-earth vibe, the mix of people from backgrounds different to those in Metro DC. Though life long citizens of Leeds may value all of these things, for us it is exciting and we are able to hold up a mirror in a way that helps others appreciate more what they love about living here. This creates new energy and positivity to the lives of our new friends and, in return, connects us more deeply to the values of this place.
My daughter, who is five, can't walk two steps without stopping to notice an insect, a crack, a dandelion, a sign. Though frustrating at times, I consider her my mindfulness teacher and imagine that someday, when she is leading a team, she will notice every little thing. She will notice how someone took extra time to format a presentation and the small touches that make it great. She will see someone's unique approach to designing a new system. She will notice, and by being a noticer, she will hold a mirror to her team, creating new energy and positivity. She will surface the values held by team members and, simply by noticing, create a team culture that is grounded in and appreciates a set of shared values.
If you're a leader (at work, at home, or in your community) I invite you to try out being a noticer today. Name what you see. Look for the values that are underneath the choices and actions that people take. See what is happening around you. Without adding any new meetings or big strategies, you will find you will breathe new energy and positivity into your team.
Some people fear being overly-gushy or appreciative of small things. (More on this in another article.) But being a noticer is accessible even for the most praise-resistant among us. Remember these two components 1) what did you observe? and 2) what value are you noticing?
Try these phrases:
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