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The Power of Perspective: Shaping Leadership and Relationships

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” ― John Lubbock

Picture this: 

You’re at the movies with a friend. You grab a bite after the show and start chatting about the film. During the conversation, you discover that their take on the movie is so different from your own, and you wonder “did we watch the same movie?!”

Or, perhaps you’ve seen someone turn down your favourite dessert because they don’t like the (delicious) main ingredient?

Or you’re listening to an interview about current events, and you can’t believe that the highly respected, expert guest could have such a profoundly different outlook on the situation?

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, you’ve experienced the power of perspective first hand. 

Perspective is the lens through which we see the world, based on our values, personality, and lived experience. Our perspectives are utterly unique, and they have the power to shape our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. 

And while perspective can have a big impact on our lives and relationships, one of the best things about perspective – in my opinion – is that we can choose to change it.

Ready to learn more? I’ve compiled my thoughts on how you can harness an awareness about the power of perspective to help you communicate more effectively - plus practical strategies for cultivating a more open-minded approach. 

Perspective is not just about personal preference; navigating different perspectives is a vital component of effective leadership.

Understanding Perspective: 

Everything can be viewed from a different perspective. There is positive value in every perspective. This idea can set the stage for understanding the dynamic nature of perspective. At its core, perspective is the angle from which we perceive the world. It encompasses our mindset, values, attitudes, and beliefs, all of which shape our reality.

Perspective in Relationships: 

Have you ever found yourself in a heated disagreement, baffled by the other person's point of view? This is a testament to the power of perspective in shaping our interactions. Mutual respect and effective communication are attainable when we recognize our own perspective and remain open to experiencing the world through the eyes of others.

Perspective in Leadership: 

As a leader, it’s essential to recognize the role that perspective plays. It influences how we show up, make decisions, and interact with our teams. Gaining a broader perspective equips leaders with the tools to navigate everyday situations, from the simple to the complex, with authenticity and empathy.

Why is Perspective Important? 

Perspective is not just about personal preference; navigating different perspectives is a vital component of effective leadership. Leaders who understand their own perspective and are willing to see things from different angles are better equipped to lead with authenticity. The awareness of diverse perspectives fosters a culture of inclusivity and innovation within organizations.

Developing the Skill of Perspective: 

Gaining and understanding different perspectives is a skill that can be developed. While the concept sounds simple, it requires a conscious effort to cultivate. Dropping the ego, being open to different viewpoints, and actively listening are crucial skills. The ability to assume good intent – as opposed to making assumptions or taking things personally – can have a big impact on how we navigate conflict, leading to better outcomes.

Strategies/Skills to Gain Perspective:

  1. Be Open, Curious and Flexible: Cultivate a mindset of openness and curiosity. Be willing to explore alternative viewpoints without immediately dismissing them.

  2. Assume Positive Intent: Recognize that others may have different motivations and perspectives, leading to varied actions.  

  3. Drop the Ego: Let go of the need to be right. Actively listen to understand rather than listening to respond.

  4. Expand the Circle: Surround yourself with diverse sources of information, such as books, articles, podcasts, and networks, to challenge and broaden your thinking.

Practical Exercises to Explore:

  1. Try on a New Perspective: Select an alternative perspective and consciously adopt it for a week. Reflect on how it feels and observe any changes in your actions or behaviours. For example, if you are facing a disagreement, instead of defending your position, step back and ask a curious question to better understand where the other person is coming from.  This space often leads to finding some common ground, which could lead to finding a different solution, rather than escalating the conflict.  

  2. Independent Reflection: Identify a situation, note your current perspective, and consider alternative viewpoints without planning specific actions. Use this exercise to challenge your thoughts and assumptions. What do you notice?

  3. Reflect on Past Disappointments: Consider a disappointment from at least three years ago. Reflect on the opportunities it eventually presented, what you’ve learned from it, and how you’ve grown as a result.


Perspective is a powerful force that shapes our reality and influences our relationships, leadership, and decision-making. By actively seeking to understand and appreciate different points of view, we not only reap the personal benefits that come with seeing things in a new light, but also take a small step towards building a more compassionate and understanding world. Embracing the possibilities in every perspective is not just a choice; it can be a transformative journey towards greater understanding and harmony.


Additional Resources

Ted Talks:



If you would like to continue the conversation, please reach out via email or LinkedIn. I’d be happy to connect with you.


Jane Gaynor is an experienced executive coach who supports, challenges, and guides her clients to gain awareness, get clarity and take action. She focuses on supporting leaders successfully navigate change while being their confident, authentic selves. To learn more, please visit


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