The Leadership Academy

Inspiring and Developing Exceptional Leaders

  • Archive ➧

    Developing a critical eye is something that was expected of Junior Non-Commissioned Officers in the Australian Defence Forces. Throughout my service I learnt to develop this sense.

    It involves an ability to see from a glance and pick up on things that do not meet standards, are out of place, not necessary, or can be improved.

    To be good at it meant that I had to view things differently. (I had to step out of the box). I had to train myself to view things from a different point of view.

    Example. Infantry units practise certain manoeuvres regularly and more often than not these manoeuvres are viewed from the rear where much of the coordinated effort can be assessed. If everything seems well coordinated and the troops are enthusiastic and moving quickly and purposely, and commanders are giving crisp clear commands and directions, then to many it appears that this manoeuvre went very well and everyone feels quite satisfied.

    However, as I learnt from many good leaders in the past, it doesn\'t matter how it looks from behind. Its how it looks from the front or from the enemy\'s point of view that really tells the story. This is a belief and practice, to which I have always held.

    It is so easy to fall into a routine where you only see what you want to see (on the Five-Day Leadership Course, you will remember that I spoke about Perceptions) and become blind to other things that are glaringly obvious to others who walk into your business or workplace. Things such as the quality of service. This doesn\'t just stop at being served promptly but involves a certain empathy, a genuine attempt to listen and gain an understanding of the customers\' needs from their point of view.

    A good way to test what it is I am trying to tell you is to go into a number of other businesses as a customer and pay attention to the service and attention given to you! You will start to get a feel for the things that you as a customer expect.

    This is what I was referring to earlier "Its how it looks from the front or in this case the customers point of view that really tells the story." Now if you can then train yourself and others to do this when you look at your own operation, then maybe you will develop a critical eye.

    Tony Wass