Overlooking People

Looking Past People

Overlooking people around you can be a big mistake for a leader and detrimental to team culture.

People = friends, customers, team members, congregants, players, family members, …hint pretty much anyone

Overlooking = looking past, unaware, undervaluing, lack of interest, not knowing value, can be unintentional or intentional

Unintentionally looking past people may seem to be an acceptable reason, but the negative results are still the same. Click To Tweet

Why does this happen?

The Junk Drawer Mentality – We all have a junk drawer. Some of us even have 2 of them! … I know from friends.. 🙂 … The decision to put something in the junk drawer can happen because we:

  • Don’t really know what the item is or where it belongs
  • Are too rushed to find and create a place for the item
  • Don’t need to use the item RIGHT NOW, even though it has had value or perceived value in the past
  • Kids 🙂

The only problem with the junk drawer, is that the stuff is labeled as junk. The stuff gets lost in there. We don’t really understand all of the stuff that is in there. Its valuable enough for us to hold on to, but not to use.

The sad reality for many leaders

The sad part is many of us treat people this way.  In many ways looking past people is just like putting them in the junk drawer. It’s not that you actually have to put them there, its the default place they end up if they are being overlooked.

I am just unaware of them and don’t really know them… junk drawer. We don’t have a need for them at the moment… junk drawer. There was a mistake on a recent project… junk drawer. I just don’t have time to get to know their strengths and see where they fit well in my organization… junk drawer. Dare I even say it, I don’t have a need for this person right now and don’t have time to develop them, but I don’t want them to go anywhere else either so I will hold onto them…. to the junk drawer.

We are left with people who feel like they are lost and floating around in the junk drawer. They often times associate their value to where they currently are. No one likes to feel junky. The truth is their value lies in their strengths and created purpose, not necessarily how they are currently being used.

With people, teams, organizations, churches, families, etc. we should never have a junk drawer. We cannot afford to lose sight of people. We can never be too rushed to value them and properly place them with opportunity to use their strengths.

What suffers by overlooking people?

Credibility – In many cases you are building a product or service for people, but you overlook people to get there. That is a conflict and reveals you care about the result more than the people. When you lack credibility, trust and respect tend to follow close behind. When trust and respect are gone, then morale, culture, and results are sure to follow.

  • If you don’t really know the people around you, you are missing opportunity to discover hidden potential as well as hidden ineffectiveness
    • Discovering hidden potential in your team is the key to long term success and positive team culture
    • Leaving ineffectiveness hidden in your team erodes team culture and long term success
  • If you don’t have time to notice people around you, then you will become an ineffective leader.
    • You either need more priority time spent on people, or more leaders who can make it a priority
  • Helping people reach their potential creates passion and growth for the individual, creates positive team culture, and ultimately team success
  • Results will suffer if the people are not a priority
    • Wanting good results is not a bad thing, but it cannot come at the cost of overlooked people

Challenge yourself to reach your mission AND notice people around you. Bring them along with you. Your people will thrive, your relationships will deepen, and your teams will have better results.

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