Challenges in leadership can come from many places. Recently, I had the opportunity to practice shifting my perspective, taking the balcony view, so that I could lead effectively in a challenging situation.
I was asked to lead a team charged with restructuring an organization’s premier membership benefit. As the group got off the ground, several competing ideas were floated. Direction was hard to come by. Roles were murky, at best.
My perspective and ability to lead cleared when I got a balcony view of the situation. The balcony view allows you to look at the situation as an observer, rather than as a participant.
What does this challenge look like from a different vantage point? The balcony view gives us perspective to evaluate the situation. We find different solutions that we could not see while in the middle of things on ground level.
Balcony View Techniques
In some situations, one can get a balcony view because of past experiences. They can strategically see what’s happening and anticipate what’s next because they know what’s happened in this situation before. My son’s ability to anticipate the other team’s moves on the basketball court is an example of this type of balcony view.
In other instances, you need space to see the balcony view. The space you need may be physical or emotional. Here are some suggestions to gain perspective:
- Take a walk
- Spend time with family
- Read a book
- Take a nap
- Work on another project
- Call a friend
- Work on a hobby
- Spend time in nature
All of these things take your mind off of your challenge. While you are focused elsewhere, your subconscious mind is providing perspective.
Regarding the confusing assignment I shared earlier, it is now a challenge I embrace. We’re gaining clarity on roles and the team has a plan to accomplish our goals. The balcony view allowed me to move from frustration to focus. I came down off the balcony with a fresh perspective. This allowed me to lead more effectively, utilizing the skills of each person on the team.
Proactively Gaining the Balcony View
As leaders, we need to move to the balcony in anticipation of what may happen next, as well as to determine our next steps in response to a challenge. Proactively taking the balcony view helps us deal with situations in the moment, as my son did on the basketball court. It also allows us to prepare for potential challenges so it doesn’t take as long to respond to them.
Schedule time on your calendar to gain a fresh perspective. I find scheduling time for reflection daily, as well as times of relaxation and refreshment on a regular basis works best. Gaining margin in your life will help you deal more effectively with challenges as they occur.
By gaining the balcony view, we can see the full picture and respond more effectively to situations.
How do you use the balcony view to gain perspective on challenges you face? What practices have you used to get the balcony view?