visible and invisible leadership

invisible but visible

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“I don’t need a cloak to become invisible.”

J.K. Rowling

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So.

This is about leadership and the trick of being present and absent at the same time.Yes. Present & absent. Visible and invisible.  What made me think of this? When I read this in a book …

 

… marveled at the way in which three clear liquids … nitric acid, hydrochloric acid and water … when combined produce color … and not just any color … but the color of a flaming sunset.”

 

This is invisible leadership – clear liquids creating flaming sunsets. Despite the sunsets we tend to miss invisible leaders more often than not. They tend to be silent or maybe quieter and certainly barely visible <unless you are paying attention>. Unseen because they are really good at remaining still and silent. They are the ones who have mastered nonchalant intent listening <but their eyes & ears never remain still>. Let’s be honest. In today’s world silent smarts is not exactly the way to the top of the heap. Which is unfortunate … because these invisible characters, who are often not seen or heard, can often have a visible effect on events – not only make things visible but also who create the colorful visible.

Interestingly … just like the formula I mentioned above <royal or king’s water> … they tend to become visible when mixed with the right partner or on the right team. They ‘mix’ in a way that makes their ‘clear’ have ‘color.’

invisible presenceRegardless of whether they attain color or remain invisible these people are invaluable. Everyone knows business needs ‘big ideas’ and needs to see the bigger vision. But it is quite possible we are forgetting HOW to do it.

Why? Well. In today’s business world if we don’t believe something exists … well … then it doesn’t. What is invisible cannot become visible because .. well … if ts not visible it doesn’t exist.

But here is a truth. If we don’t know that something exists, it really doesn’t mean that it doesn’t. It only means we don’t really know for sure or maybe we just haven’t been made aware of it yet.

Someone wrote evidence is not about proof or certainty or necessity, but it is something that can contribute to belief. This means we can have evidence without conclusiveness. This is the fundamental mistake when discussing evidence. The mistake in the belief or assumption that there can only be evidence for claims that are true. That last sentence is important because there is a vast amount of evidence for claims that are in fact false. The context here has to do with lack of awareness. The context here is the invisible leader or maybe how I said it once before “what if this is the person holding the universe together” <and you just cannot see it>.

When people dismiss that possibility simply because they weren’t aware of it, or haven’t made the attempt to explore it, or haven’t looked beyond their own personal usage/viewpoint — then they are all too frequently jumping to conclusions based on … well … lack of information rather than the presence of it.

And here is where invisible people earn their value. They don’t fall into this trap. They are the ones who can see the invisible things. The ones who can actually take clear components and put them together and create something tangible and colorful.

Regardless.

The ability to be present … but invisible … is a knack.

The ability to be present but invisible and combine “the universe” to make it not only visible .. but colorful is also a knack. I am not sure they are trainable … I could be wrong … but I tend to believe they are more a knack, an innate ability, more than one that can be taught.

I do know that the people who talk the most don’t always have the most to say.invisible and visible silent listen I also know <okay … believe> that most of these people with this innate ability to find invisible things are really good listeners.

They listen to what is not being said.

They see what is unseen.

They find the thread of the true message in the sounds around them.

They find invisible things … maybe even unclear undeveloped ideas … and these things become visible in their heads.

They hear what is not being said and without any overt behavior combine the unsaid with the said into something … well … colorful.

Oh.

And they tend to use silence like a weapon. While others seem to embrace some desire to speak and showcase knowledge or what an individual can do … they remain silent. They also sometimes have the ability to become attuned to the magic that can occur when all the others blend their ideas and abilities. And then they only act, become visible, if it is needed to strengthen that which is.

That last thought?

Well. This is all really tricky if you want to become a leader. We think of leaders as needing to stand out or even apart from the rest of the team.

invisible visible nothingnessYet the most influential leaders also know how to blend the invisible factor with the visible factor. They know there is an appropriate time for standing out and apart from the group.

But in today’s business world potential leaders <and even some already in leadership positions> have a fear that blending in <remaining invisible even though present … and making an impact> will cause their value to diminish. And it does <not in my eyes but in the business world as it exists today>. While the ability to bring out the best in others, without visibly doing anything, is a true leadership skill and the sign of a true leader, invisibility often leads to becoming, perception wise, superfluous in an organization. I say that because being invisible but present, blending in and standing out, is an art. And I say that because having the ability to combine invisible factors and creating something wonderful and visible … is a skill.

Anyway.

Think of it this way.writing colors

If you know someone at your company or in business who makes you ‘marvel at the way in which they are able to take three clear liquids and combine them to produce color … and not just any color … but the color of a flaming sunset’ you should pay them gobs of money or just make sure that you pay attention to them.

Because invisible is … well … invisible to pretty much everyone.

And anyone who can see the invisible is worth every penny you can pay them. Because the most colorful beautiful visible in business … is inevitably created from some random combination of ‘less than visible’ aspects.

Invisible leaders exist in almost every business. Don’t judge people by whether they are visible but instead by what they MAKE visible.

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Written by Bruce