Go beyond first impressions to better understand others


He was a leader who had a big swagger. He was brash, with an audacity and arrogance beyond compare. I observed him from afar and disliked him immediately. One day, he reached out to me and asked me to coach him. Although I didn’t realize it then, this was a test. Could I find any goodness in him?


As I opened myself to him, I learned that he was kind, funny and one of those rare people who would give someone the shirt off his back. Compassion was part of his personality, and it was a wonderful surprise. I grew to appreciate the good in him.


Those messy, complex, frustrating, wonderful people you lead rarely come with facts and data tattooed on them. Your ability to “get” people might not come naturally to you, and it requires you to rely on something other than traditional knowledge (or book smarts) to get good at it. People are unpredictable at best, frustrating at their worst. To lead them well, you must be able to understand them, to see beyond your immediate (or even long-lasting) impressions.


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compassion hearts

compassion hearts (Photo credit: journeyscoffee)