Seeing the Greatness in Front of Us

I have always enjoyed traveling and exploring the beauty of the world.

The global pandemic brought an abrupt halt to my travel and introduced the longest stretch of time in my life, not on an airplane in the past 30 years.

Instead of looking for beauty and adventure outside my neighborhood, I found myself looking more closely at my most immediate surroundings. I was reminded of my 7th grade English teacher, Mr. Carter, who took us on a field trip where we were required to write poetry.

Each student was assigned an isolated corner of a mountainside. We were all alone. Our assignment was simply to listen, then write about what we had heard and seen.

Once I got past the initial quiet, I began to hear and see all kinds of things that otherwise escaped my attention. I could hear the sound of the breeze in the leaves of the trees. I noticed minuscule insects going about their business in the small detail of the soil and undergrowth. I noticed the veins in the leaves on the nearby plants, and the constant comings and goings of birds to and from the trees’ branches.

I witnessed immense activity, power, and beauty in that small corner of our ecosystem—something that happened right before me, but without my notice.

Something similar has happened during the Covid-19 crisis. Separated from my usual interactions and regular activities, I began to appreciate the greatness in close friendships, in the friendly back and forth with our neighbors, in the healing balm of a freshly mowed lawn or carefully weeded flowerbed. 

I began to notice, all around my immediate locale, the remarkable greatness that surrounds my everyday life—both the people and the physical location.  

As leaders, do we see the greatness that is right in front of us?

Do we take time to first see, then develop that greatness in others? I love this definition of leadership:

“Leadership is seeing and communicating the worth and potential of others so clearly that they begin to see that that potential in themselves.”

Stephen R. Covey

Leaders have a significant responsibility to develop a compelling vision and then a strategy to achieve that vision. They need to establish a productive and engaging culture—a culture where people feel valued, respected, and where a spirit of trust abounds. They must then manage the work and ensure the right things are getting done by the right people at the right time.

Leaders must deliver results—or someone else will be asked to fill their role.

Certainly, being a leader is not for the faint of heart! In addition to all the critical things associated with these leadership roles and responsibilities, one of a leader’s most critical and essential roles is that of developing other leaders—those around them who possess great potential, but sometimes need a leader or mentor to see their latent greatness and help bring that greatness forward. Leaders must see and communicate the greatness that is constantly around them.


See The Tree, Not Just The Seedling is one of the 15 proven practices to build effective relationships at work that FranklinCovey's chief people officer, Todd Davis, writes about in his book Get Better. Click here to watch a video with Todd Davis, from FranklinCovey's All Access Pass®, that brings this practice to life.

About the Author

Shawn Moon

Shawn Moon is an experienced executive and author with expertise in sales and marketing. He inspires others to become leaders through personal effectiveness and execution. Shawn served as FranklinCovey’s Executive Vice President, where he had responsibility for all of FranklinCovey’s director operations, including the company’s North American operations, UK, Japan, Australia offices, as well as the U.S. Government Services group. He also led the company’s Execution, Speed of Trust, Customer Loyalty, and Sales Performance Practices. He is the author or co-author of several books, including The Ultimate Competitive Advantage, Talent Unleashed, and Leading Loyalty.

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