How Do You See People?

This is a guest post by Dan Foster, a Branch Manager for Prudential Northwest Properties in the Portland Metropolitan Area. He is also a life coach, active blogger, husband, and father of two children. You can also follow him on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

I have been reading the book, Outlive Your Life, by Max Lucado. In the book Lucado asks a simple but powerful question: Do you see through people or into people? This question has been challenging me all week to examine how I interact and communicate with the people around me.

Putting on a Pair of Glasses from the Wearer’s Prospective - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/gchutka, Image #6395924

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/gchutka

As a business leader it is easy to get caught up into thinking only about my world, my struggles, and my priorities; so much so that my interaction with others can become automated and disingenuous. This book has caused me to wonder just how many opportunities I have missed to connect with others more deeply and to truly serve them.

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How do you see people? Before you answer that question, consider these five characteristics of someone that sees through people.

A person that sees through people …

  1. Sees only the consequences of people’s actions and not the pain and struggle they are going through that causes them to behave in a certain way.
  2. Sees an opportunity to ask a question but hopes they don’t have to listen to a lengthy answer that takes up too much of their time.
  3. Sees a chance to provide a solution before truly understanding the need of the person.
  4. Sees someone in need and responds with “textbook” words of encouragement and affirmation without taking the time to listen and speak into the person’s situation.
  5. Fails to see really people at all, and is oblivious to the shattered lives, broken relationships, and struggles going on all around him.

To be a leader that sees into people is no easy task. It requires courage, self-sacrifice, and the desire to engage people no matter where they are in life. When you see into people, you are not looking for what you are going to get out of that interaction, but, instead, how you can bless the person you are engaging.

This may require that you get your hands dirty. You may find yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Your wallet may not be as fat as it was before, and you may need to create margin in your calendar for opportunities to serve.

When you see into people you acknowledge they are more than their struggles, their choices, and their behavior. They are just like you: desiring love, affection, success, encouragement, and a helping hand. Take the time to see into people and build a relationship with them and you will discover a joy and peace that redefines the way you lead your personal and professional life.

Question: How does it feel when you are led by someone like this? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Ahh! Seeing through people and seeing into people. How my supervisor or leader behaves — is really beyond my wish. But, I can always choose my actions and behavior. I can be someone who ‘sees into’ people’s needs. I can be good to others rather than expecting someone to be good to me.
    Of course, we will feel elated and happy when our supervisor ‘sees into’ us. But, in real world, I have seen many who are task oriented rather than relationship oriented.
    It would be great to have leaders who ‘see into’ his subordinates. This post awakens me to the fact that I need to be sensitive to the people surrounding me. And, it also reminds me of the axiom — “Be a better human being first”. Many thanks for your eye opening article.

    • Anonymous

      Uma, you are welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

    How does it feel to be led by someone that sees into me instead of through me?

    First of all, rare. I can think of only 2 times in my adult life that I have been led by someone like that.

    Second, those times when it does happen, I would go the end of the earth with that person. Still would, eeven though I’m not working for them now.

    • Anonymous

      Yes. Amazing the loyalty that a leader can instill in followers when they truly take the time to know and serve their team. I wish you the best in finding this type of leader again, or perhaps becoming this leader for others right where you are at today.

      • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

        Where I am now, I’m basically trying to become that type of leader. Since I’ve seen it as a need in my life, I want to fill that need in the people I lead. It takes a little more work, but it’s well worth it.

      • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

        Where I am now, I’m basically trying to become that type of leader. Since I’ve seen it as a need in my life, I want to fill that need in the people I lead. It takes a little more work, but it’s well worth it.

  • Anonymous

    There have been very few people in my life that have seen into me and not through me. Over the course of the last two years, however, I can name a few who have seen the pain, not just the behavior. They chose to stick by me while I worked through the problems. That’s what makes such great friendships. They see into you, sympathize with your pain, but don’t let you stay in the rut you are in.

    I would also say that when I began to realize there were things I needed to change about myself, putting myself out there (vulnerability), people saw into me more.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Excellent point. We have a responsibility to be open and allow others to see into us. If we never allow others to truly know us it is very difficult for them to serve and fellowship with us. Wishing you the best in 2011.

      • Anonymous

        You too. Great blog!

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        This issue of transparency – allowing others to see us for who we are – has been big in my church over the last few years. It is difficult and scary to let others see into us in such a way; but, at the same time it is a big deal because it frees us from living a life of covering up the ugliness and pretending to always have everything together.

  • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

    Having a leader that looks into you instead of through you is a truely amazing thing. I am currently working for a leader like this, and it makes coming to work a joy and not a drain. This leader was able to take the time and truely help me get through when my wife lost her job, with the same company at which I work, and get back to trusting other leaders here. This type of leader is and inspiration and truely can make a difference.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      That is awesome.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      That is awesome.

  • http://coachradio.tv/ Justin Lukasavige

    Great post, Dan. Outlive Your Life spoke to me, too. Great reminder to think about others.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks Justin.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks Justin.

  • Karen Jordan

    People like that make me feel de-valued, disrespected, and ignored. My question to myself in light of this revelation, “Do I make others feel like that with my response to them?” Thanks for the “heads up”!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      You are welcome. I felt similarly when I read Max’s book and started asking myself the same questions. Now the challening part – changing my behavior towards others!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      You are welcome. I felt similarly when I read Max’s book and started asking myself the same questions. Now the challening part – changing my behavior towards others!

  • Juan

    Hi Mike! Great post, seeing into others is practicing empathy, is putting myself in their shoes, it is about being there. Sometimes we feel our problems are enough that we do not want to know or learn, listen other people’s deals. However – is there a fine line of being too involved into other people lives?

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Juan, boundaries are a necessity. I think what Lucado discusses in his book and what I allude to in the post is that we must do our best to go beyond the superficial response to the needs we see all around us. How we respond may not necessarily mean a deep relationship with someone but rather, a listening ear, a kind word of encouragement specific to their situation, a monetary contribution to a cause, or a Saturday night serving meals in homeless shelter. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://twitter.com/GGoldsmith Gretchen Goldsmith

    Great post, Dan.

    If I may, I’ll add another point:
    6. Fails to believe that God can work miracles and may change this person’s life significantly over the next 10 years.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Amen.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Amen.

    • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

      …or even fewer. I was talking with a friend who had to part ways with a ministry because they refused to see him as anything other than the man he was twelve years ago even though he’s clearly matured into his calling. It truly doesn’t take long for people to grow with God.

  • Roger

    I think all of us are still very much like little children, crying out to those around us, please see me. Please notice me. Please value me. As adults we do it much differently than we did as children, but the desire is still the same. One tries to achieve it by the way they dress. Another by how much education and knowledge they have. Still another with money.

    • http://missionalmamassoul.blogspot.com/ Amy

      It is interesting to me that you wrote about children because as I read the post above, I could not help but think of my children and was I really seeing them. It is true that we are still much the same.

  • Carmen Bernal

    How and what and where do you see at people? What about those you see into but they chose to remain blind to themselves? Our hands can get dirty and we might find ourselves exhausted, but how long? Where is the limit that overpasses our own health?
    It is very heavy to pull a car that has no motor and we yet try to convince the car and ourselves that it works…

  • Anonymous

    Hi Michael .. absolutely excellent post .. gosh if we could get the western world to be leaders .. we’d improve so many lives … even if those leaders just followed your maxims as people. Brilliant – thank you so much .. Hilary

  • http://fireandhammer.blogspot.com Dennis

    I have only had one leader (other than God) who is like this and at first it was very hard to understand. I was so use to leaders who were about getting work done and what they could get out of me that when one of my supervisors did something unexpected for me I was overwhelmed. Once I got use to this it made me want to do more to support that supervisor’s work.

  • Kevin

    Great points. As I read through them, I wondered how my wife would say I am doing with her and our kids. How often do I just want to fix things quickly at home without seeking to understand the underlying feeling.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Excellent question Kevin for all of us at to consider about our spouse and children. Great, now I have more work to do! :)

    • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

      Man, is that a great point. If we aren’t leading our households well, where are we leading well?

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        So true. Our family life greatly affects the rest of our lives…what a huge difference we would make for our whole family if we would take a little more time to see our spouse and children the same way (as important as) ourselves. And then, what an incredible example we would be setting for our children to follow!

  • http://twitter.com/2020VisionBook Joshua Hood

    Very true. This applies to all relationships. And I think the first point is crucial. We have to have unselfish motives. Get that right, and all the rest will fall into place.

    Joshua Hood
    2020visiononline.org

  • Edwina Cowgill

    Excellent post! Thank you for the reminder.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      You are welcome Edwina.

  • http://twitter.com/NewEnglandHiker Roy Wallen

    Another excellent post, thank you. This raises a question in my mind about leadership: Are leaders to serve the needs of people (and, therefore, need to truly know them) or are leaders to be supported and made successful by the actions of those they lead? I am reminded of precepts presented by John Maxwell.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Great questions Roy. I think when a leader serves the needs of people, the people will be filled with the desire to serve that leader and support that leader. Both will benefit. I’m reminded of a great World War II leader, Major Richard (Dick) Winters that recently passed away. A fine example of this type of leadership.

  • http://www.validleadership.com James Castellano

    I try to be this kind of leader. I can only recall one in my past, and working for him was great.

    I have ten daily attitudes I write in my planner each day and one is,”To see others as people, not objects.” I fail often, but I keep getting better at it. Great post!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks James for the comment and for sharing this great call to action. Keep doing what your doing!

  • DrDavidFrisbie

    The dangerous trap is to sort people into ‘significant’ and ‘less so’ — usually for the purpose of networking with the ‘significant’ ones for your own benefit or career advancement. This is a common worldwide practice including within the faith community. It has only a few problems: one of them being that it is exactly contrary to Christ’s own behavior and practice. He hung out with ‘the least of these.’ He did so on purpose.

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  • http://LiveIntentionally.org @PaulSteinbrueck

    Hey Dan, thanks for the thought-provoking post. I’d say sometimes I see through people and sometimes see into people. And if I’m really honest it’s probably more often the former than the latter. As I reflected on your post, I thought of three things that help put me in a better position to see into people rather than through them wrote about them on my blog:

    3 Things That Help Me See Into People Rather than Through Them

    http://www.liveintentionally.org/2011/01/19/3-things-that-help-me-see-into-people-rather-than-through-them/

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Some great thoughts Paul and excellent post on things we can do to be prepared and ready to “see into” people. Thanks.

      • http://LiveIntentionally.org @PaulSteinbrueck

        Thanks Dan. BTW, I like what you’re doing with your coaching and your blog. Good stuff. I’ll be sure to connect with you more often.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Hey Paul, some great thoughts in your blog. I am an introvert at heart as well and it does take a lot of energy to engage other people…and even more to see into, and keep up with, their lives. And I totally agree, when I am lacking rest, margin, and time with God, I tend to see past others and pull back into myself.

      • http://LiveIntentionally.org @PaulSteinbrueck

        Thanks Steven. Glad you found it helpful.

  • http://LiveIntentionally.org @PaulSteinbrueck

    Hey Dan, thanks for the thought-provoking post. I’d say sometimes I see through people and sometimes see into people. And if I’m really honest it’s probably more often the former than the latter. As I reflected on your post, I thought of three things that help put me in a better position to see into people rather than through them wrote about them on my blog:

    3 Things That Help Me See Into People Rather than Through Them

    http://www.liveintentionally.org/2011/01/19/3-things-that-help-me-see-into-people-rather-than-through-them/

  • Steve

    Hey Dan – Great Blog. There are a couple of things that struck me about this. First off, the leader who needs to see “into people” is just as much part of the fallen broken world as is the see-ee. I would surmise that they don’t see into people because they can’t see much past thier own junk. Secondly, I was grateful that you added the bullet about time. Weird as it is, I think this is a huge factor. We simply do not make the time to listen. I am grateful for your post. Best wishes seeing into to all those that comment… :-)

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks Steve. Appreciate your thoughts and comment.

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    Good points. If someone is going through a hard time, it’s easy to say “I’ll pray for you” and never give it a second thought. It’s easy to say “let me know if you need anything”, knowing that they will likely not ask. Unfortunately, it’s all too natural for us to take the easy way out and look right through people. It takes work to rise above our innate, selfish nature.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Exactly Rick. You get it. Sometimes all it takes is going that extra step to follow-up with someone over coffee or lunch to really get a sense of what they are all about or possibly going through.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great post, Dan. I’ve heard a helpful metaphor about this… “turn your mirror into a looking glass.” So many times we are just looking at our own reflections that we can’t see what is going on right in front of us. When we take the mirrored back off of our hand held mirror and instead turn it into a looking glass, we can suddenly see the needs of others. When you run into somebody that truly does this, it can be a wonderful experience.
    This past weekend, I met a fellow named Gordon who truly modeled this. He was the leader of a beginners’ bicycle ride for the Triathlon Club of San Diego. As someone new to the sport, I was a little apprehensive about riding 20 miles on streets and an unfamiliar bike path. The minute I got to the event, Gordon came over and introduced himself. He took a look at my bike and offered to check the air in the tires. He checked the brakes and made sure the bike was ready to go. He did a similar thing for the other 20 people that showed up for the ride. He then spent about 15 minutes speaking to all of us about the ride and what to look out for. He was very thorough and helpful.
    As we started the ride, he had us start out slow, get into the proper gear, and head off down the bike path. Riding along the path, he had us spread out, and showed us how to properly notify and pass other riders. Gordon worked along with three other more experience riders from the club to put us into small riding groups. As the ride went on he taught us about cadence, proper gear selection, and how to climb hills. By the time we got to the end of the 10 mile route and started back, we were all a LOT more comfortable on our bikes. When we got back to our cars, I wanted to go another 20 miles. Gordon and his team had turned a somewhat scary event into a grand adventure. When you meet a leader like Gordon, who truly cares about others, you want to tell others about the experience. As leaders we all can learn from someone like Gordon, to take away the mirror and focus on the needs of others. It may be uncomfortable at first, but the rewards are truly great.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      A great real life example John. Thanks.

  • Chris Shaughness

    This is such a powerful post. In short, this summarizes how we should be living our lives. It is human nature to get wrapped up in our own issues, often seeing others for what they can do for us. I’ve worked for many managers who only see the employees as machines, not allowed to have emotions, problems or anything else that get in the way of doing the job. But that’s not reality. The very best managers treat people the way they would like to be treated – with respect. It’s empowering to know that you are appreciated, when your manager understands that you’re not a robot but a human who has good days and not-so-good days. Myself, I will work harder for someone who respects me and has the flexibility to understand my needs.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      …and Chris just think if all of us that follow a leader attempted to see into the reality of our leaders/managers and the impact it could have on our company’s overall impact and culture. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.meeklabs.com John Paul Mains

    This blog post was a knife to my heart as I realize how often my own behavior is like this. I have caught myself mimicking good listening and showing empathy as I knew instinctively it is the right thing to do, but was really doing that just to seem like a better leader than I actually am.

    I read Paul Steinbruecks thoughts on improving this and felt they were spot on. How do others here try and alter their own goggles?

    • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

      I for one attack my “goggles” at the point of my own frustration. When I feel my fuse getting short with someone, I know it’s probably because I feel my time or resources are being encroached upon. I usually press my inner “reset” button and continue to listen.

      Also, I thank the Holy Spirit for his patience. We’ve got to drink from Him, that inner well of godliness and power. He’s our only hope to authentically love people.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      I try to remember that everyone else is just as important as I am. God did create each of us. We all have our own stories with struggles and triumphs – all of which will affect our attitude and demeanor. And, we all need someone to listen.

      I usually have the hardest time when I am strapped for time (have too much going on, am running late, etc…). So, when I know that I will be in the midst of other people (like church or meetings), I try to go into that situation more prepared (knowing that I will encounter people that need to share their stories) – maybe getting there early, making sure that I have my urgent tasks done, and setting aside that time to be more focused on others.

      Never perfect…just trying to do a little better each day.

    • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

      Here’s one shift I try: Instead of thinking of my day in terms of tasks I have to do at certain times, I try to think of it as a series of interactions with people. It helps me expect the unexpected, and look for people throughout the day – fellow commuters, people on the street, waiters, flight attendants, receptionists, etc.

    • http://www.meeklabs.com John Paul Mains

      Yeah. It may be as simple as slowing down and getting things off the plate so that we can focus on people’s needs rather than focusing on the task. If you focus on the need, you are more in tune with the person than just what they can do for you.

      The challenge is remembering that no matter where we work, we really work for God. The daily grind does a good job of distracting us from the importance that God has on reaching people, not the meaningless tasks we do day after day.

  • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

    Great post! This reminds me of the Zulu greeting – “Sawubona” – which literally means, “I See You.” The response is “Ngikhona,” which means, “I Am Here.” It goes far beyond physical acknowledgment of a person’s presence. In their culture, truly seeing someone is akin to bringing them into existence. You can read more on the concept here: http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/i-see-you/

    I haven’t read Outlive Your Life; I’ll have to pick it up! Thanks for sharing.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks Geoff! I think you are really going to like the book. Hope to hear how it impacts you and your leadership style.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Hey Geoff, a line from your blog fits so well with this topic: “We cannot lead what we cannot see.” Many of us do lead, at least at times, from a stance of not really seeing those that we have charge of. However, how big a difference it would make if we truly led from this perspective of seeing people?! Knowing the strengths and weaknesses, the passions, talents, joys, experiences, and even dislikes, of our team would help us to move our team to a whole new level.

      • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

        Couldn’t have said it better myself!

      • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

        Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • http://www.thepoint-leah.blogspot.com Leah Adams

    Ouch! My toes!! The Lord and I have been working on this for several months now, but I know I still have a long way to go.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      I know the feeling Leah.

  • Deborah

    Oh my goodness. I’ve been asking God to show me how to improve my leadership skills. Asking good questions is one way. Really hearing them is quite another story. Thanks for the encouraging thoughts to consider.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thank you Deborah. It sounds like you are heading to the right source for improving your leadership skills. Keep up the great work.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Like many of the comments here, having someone see into me rather than see through me is very rare. It’s a quality that very few people pursue. I reached some similar conclusions after reading Lucado’s book, although mine weren’t worded as well. My goal is to invest myself as wholly as possible into my relationships: wife, kids, teen ministry, and others.

    Thanks for the insights!

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      Definitely!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks for the comment Jeff. What a great goal and a wonderful blessing for those you love and serve.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks for the comment Jeff. What a great goal and a wonderful blessing for those you love and serve.

  • Aaron Brown

    Guilty as charged!
    It would be amazing to be led by someone like that in business; unfortunately, those qualities require extra personal desire and effort to develop into actualization, and are rare.

    I have been working on leadership, letting go of old habits, in life as well as work. A couple times, I have found unexpected encouragement from music; two songs come to mind – “Lead Me” by Sanctus Real, and “Dear X” by Disciple.

    Thanks for the post, my friend!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thank you Aaron for the comment and the great song recommendations. Talk to you soon my friend.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thank you Aaron for the comment and the great song recommendations. Talk to you soon my friend.

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    WHen some one leads like that, it makes you feel safe, like you can struggle with who you are and not be axed for getting in the way of an agenda.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylelreed

    Those five things you listed as someone who sees through people were convicting.
    I am trying to work on my eyes by listening better.
    Often times I hear people but i do not listen.
    Its almost like that question…what came first the chicken or the egg, in this sense for me, what does it take to see into people better eyes or better ears?

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    Great post! I would say that oen great thing I have learned about leadership is to let other have their own ideas. Sometimes, as leaders, we can come across as authoritative. Letting others have a voice can really set the mood for wherever one is working…

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Agreed Brandon. What a great way to learn more about someone through asking for their input and oppinion on key issues in your company.

  • Scott Meyer

    Great post. Reminds me of what I share with the young ministers I am blessed to work with…”Ministry is MESSY.”

  • Scott Meyer

    Great post. Reminds me of what I share with the young ministers I am blessed to work with…”Ministry is MESSY.”

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    Exactly…It is vital to be a leader that creates a safe, trusting atmosphere!

  • Erik Bjorge

    sadly I have not been (that I remember) led by someone who see’s into people. and sadly it seems i’ve had trained into me more of the seeing through people traits. and not knowing the difference (until now) I have approached it with a heartset and mindset that probably lands me halfway between the two.
    thank you for opening my eyes to this important difference!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Erik, kudos to you for recognizing that this is something you want to change. You can be the leader you’ve never had and can encourage other young leaders to consider this type of leadership style.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    This seems like such a simple thing to do…yet, is probably one of the most difficult for many to do and to do consistently. I know how important it is to see into others; and, I try…at least sometimes. But, it is so easy to slip back into seeing right past people – especially when I have had a hard day or I have too much to do or I am running late. I guess the key here is to never give up. Keep working at it. And, ocassionally, have some helpful reminders like this post.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Well said Steven. Keep running the race.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    I think I do both. Most of the time, I look into a person, but sometimes, their sharp edges cut me and I back away hurt, angry and wanting nothing to do with them. I had to deal with a person like that and tried for two years to help them. A crack began in a wall and I saw the hurting person underneath, but those sharp edges never softened and that person became toxic. I think discernment is important here. Great blog!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Nikole a great reminder about discernment. Thank you. One thing we can do with toxic people is help them behind the scenes by praying for them. Sometimes people need a professional to help them though and we must acknowledge that fact.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Pro

    I’m starting a men’s small group at work next week and we’re reading through Outlive Your Life. Will definitely be including your post in our discussion.

    When I’m led by someone who “sees into” me I feel encouraged, inspired and empowered. Like I am capable of reaching my dreams and becoming the best. And I want to deliver my best for that person.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      K.C., this is fantastic. I wish you well on your new small group study. Lucado’s book challenges you in every chapter. I’ll pray that members come with an open heart to hear and understand his point of view, not agree or disagree.

  • http://familysynergy.wordpress.com JD Eddins

    Great post. I work in the counseling field and have found that these attributes can also determine the effectiveness of the therapist you are seeing. I know many therapists who have simply learned a model, technique, or intervention it use it no matter what problem their client is facing.
    It tends to get really frustrating for the client because the approach isn’t individualized for them and it gets frustrating for the therapists because they don’t see any changes in their client.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      JD, the same is true in coaching professionals. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://familysynergy.wordpress.com JD Eddins

    Great post. I work in the counseling field and have found that these attributes can also determine the effectiveness of the therapist you are seeing. I know many therapists who have simply learned a model, technique, or intervention it use it no matter what problem their client is facing.
    It tends to get really frustrating for the client because the approach isn’t individualized for them and it gets frustrating for the therapists because they don’t see any changes in their client.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    This is also a common problem of airport screeners these days, namely that their novel gadgetry makes it easier to see through people but not into people so as to discern who they really are and hence ascertain the threat level they pose beyond whatever information can be gleaned from examining their X-rays.

    Perhaps inadvertently, your post raises the issue of profiling.

  • Beth Caster

    Beautiful, thoughtful and truthful. Thank you Dan for this blog. To be led by someone that truly understands what this means is a joy and a privilege. You set a high bar to which the rest of us aspire. Thanks again.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thank you Beth. I’m learning and practicing this just like everyone else out there. It is a challenge but worth the effort.

  • John Williams

    Thank you very much for this. I am in a business that often “sees through people” in the interest of – managing “prospects” with the view of the proberbial “time value of money”, rather than to value the person for who they are and what their real needs are and how that relates to my services. I greatly appreciate your comments. They get right to the point and reinforce the greatest joy I have found with my real estate services. Thank you.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thank you John. What a great connection you’ve made between sales prospecting and this post. We all want to work with sales professionals that see our needs and goals and then help us get there. Sounds like you have this figured out. Great job.

  • Pmpope68

    Unfortunately, I’m a leader who has experienced being looked through and not gaining credibility from others until I proved that I was capable. It’s a very demeaning feeling and having experienced it, I hope to never make others feel that way.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      I think we go through those experiences so that we can in turn teach others and help others to see a better leadership style. Have you had the opportunity to share your experience and use it as a teaching moment with a young leader?

  • http://twitter.com/lovinglyyoursG Georgiana

    Great reminders ~ it’s very important to take the time and really get to know people and be there for them showing support and encouragement. Too often we expect the standard answer to “how are you?” to be “fine” instead of finding out how they are really feeling. Showing a spirit of empathy displays love and mercy to those in need.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Well said Georgiana.

  • http://www.christopherscottblog.typepad.com/ Christopher Scott

    I feel my leader definitely sees into people.

    She takes the time to listen to all problems, doesn’t provide solutions right away, and she does what she feels is right. It helps me to feel valued as part of her team, and encourages me to work hard and give my best effort.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Looks like you have a winner for a leader Christopher! Thanks for joining the discussion.

  • http://www.gospellab.com Gospel lab

    If we don’t make it a habit to see into people, we will become like the cold, heartless, computers we blog on.

    We will blankly stare at people when they talk to us.

    Our speech will result in nothing more than input and output conversation.

    And our emotions will be an outward expression of our inward calculations.

  • Sarahefoster

    Great Post!!!

  • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

    Thank you Mrs. Foster!

  • 4chauntel

    …love it Dan, thanks for the reminder ….to view others as Christ does wow!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks Chauntel! Philippians 2: 1-11.

  • Krista

    This is a great question! Really makes me think. I need to get my hands on that book! Thank you.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Hi Krista, Max’s book is excellent and can be found at most local Christian book stores or via Amazon. I highly recommend it.

  • http://relevantbrokenness.com Marni Arnold

    How does it feel when I am lead by someone who sees into me, rather than through me?

    I feel valued. I feel understood. I feel embraced and loved. I feel like someone cares enough to invest their time into others for others – and through this investment, they also reap great benefits themselves. They are not judgmental, but offer grace where the world is lacking thereof.

    These kind of people inspire me to always become better at seeing into people, rather than through them.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Marni, I think your comment reflects a lot of people’s thoughts as well. When leaders use this sort of leadership style they reap tremendous rewards from their followers, including loyalty, higher production, and a desire to see the leader’s vision become a reality.

  • Steve G.

    Great Read Dan –

    Some excellent points for leaders (and really anybody) to consider. I call it – EMPATHY. The ability to put yourself in someone else shoes! I luv how you state – Seeing Through People or Seeing Into People! (Cool Way To Describe The Attitude) I believe that people (mainly leaders) see it as a weakness when they have to actually stop and consider someone’s feelings, life, situation…I call it BEING HUMAN. True Leaders want to build people and communities up, and one of the first steps is getting a better understanding of who that person is and what makes them tick. It might take a little long, and mean more effort, but in the long run, the success will last longer! I see this behavior of “seeing through people” in sales organizations all the time.

    Excellent Work – Thank you for your insight and your ability to put it into words!

    Be Good

    SPGonz

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks Steve. I’m glad you liked it. Now let’s all live it.

  • Mary

    This is a great post Dan – it truly makes you consider relationships and how to make them better. It is a bit sobering to think of how many times you have rushed through a conversation without really listening because you were moving ahead with your own thoughts on how you are going to comment as soon as you have a chance to speak … again. Seeing into people helps you to understand and honor the person you are engaging with. Can there be a better way to show that you care about someone than to listen with your ears and eyes … and your heart? I look forward to reading Outlive Your Life and to re-reading your post – thanks for the great insight!

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Mary, you are going to enjoy Max’s book. Your thoughts echo mine with regards to improving relationships as well as our communication with the people we meet each day. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://twitter.com/MattBeard Matt Beard

    I work in a retail environment (Christian bookstore) and it’s a daily struggle to make sure that when I’m serving a customer that I’m serving with the right attitude. It’s tempting when there’s another task besides assisting customers that I’m expected to accomplish during my shift to see through people and try to check them off the list as if they were a task themselves. However, when I do take the time to see into them and hear what they are saying and find a solution that will truly benefit them, it makes all the difference not only for them but for me as well. A day with a few customers I took the time to see into ends with a greater feeling of accomplishment than a day with hundreds of customers I saw through.

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  • http://www.davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    You feel much more empowered and motivated to have a leader like this. Leaders who see through people typically lose followers more often.

  • http://twitter.com/2020VisionBook Joshua Hood

    Seeing below the surface and behind the scenes is VITAL to effective leadership. You cannot properly evaluate behavior (effect) unless you understand the motive (cause). Great leaders understand not just the ‘what’, but the ‘why’.

    Josh Hood
    2020visiononline.com

  • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

    Good for you Matt! You’ve got it figured out my friend. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

    They do. One of my favorite quotes I learned from my friend Daniel Harkavy is, “People don’t leave companies, they leave leaders”.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

    Thanks Josh – good thoughts.

  • Neal MD

    I feel inept when I am “managed” my someone that sees through me. Whatever talent, education, and experience seems to be nullified by their desire to do what they want. I recognize that I haven’t been in ministry as long as many other leaders, but I have been ordained and am continually being refined to be my best for His work.
    I’m a part of younger generation that want to be an active part of something. I want my ideas and efforts to matter – I want to matter. I feel cheapened by being “seen through”.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Neal – I think you summed up very nicely what a young generation of leaders feel and desire most from the people they work with. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    Wow. Great post. I love the word play and implications of “seeing through” versus “seeing into.” I confess that I’m often the former type of leader and am trying to be the latter.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Jeff, I often write about things that I’m working through and I too am definitely working on seeing into people instead of seeing through them. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    Oh, and it feels great to be led in this way, as if I’m being valued for who I am, not just what I can do.

  • http://twitter.com/john_gallagher john_gallagher

    Dan, it is my hope that I can be the leader described at the end of your post. I know how it feels when led by both types and if I am paying attention, I learn from both! I will be adding Max’s book to my reading stack for 2011

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      John – Your going to enjoy Max’s book. Thanks for the comment.

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  • PoulAndreassen

    It is amazing to know that there are articles like this on web .Thanks for helping me out…

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Poul, glad that you found the article helpful.

  • Michael

    I love this. I am amazed at how quickly I am tempted to prescribe advice to someone or to judge their actions without knowing their context.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Me too Michael. I need constant reminding that we must truly see into people before drawing any conclusions. Thanks for the comment.

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  • Ashley Musick

    I think a characteristic of a person that sees into people is that they are a person who desires to hear the voice of the Lord. When I’m being the kind of person that sees into people (I wish it was all of the time, but it’s a work in progress), I’m also tuning my heart to hear what God might be saying. If somebody is opening up and telling me a story or sharing their heart, if I’m not trying to see them as God sees them, I’m surely missing something important. When I tune in, listen to the Lord’s whispers, and share them, I’m offering the love of Christ in a way that produces change and hope. This is the best I can give. This is me being Christ to a hurting world. It starts with the desire to see into people, but requires an interaction with God. Deep calling unto deep.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Great thoughts Ashley. Thanks for sharing these. Appreciate your comment. Blessings.

  • http://jhwist.tumblr.com/ Henrik Wist

    Luckily, I have never been led by a “see through people” leader. Maybe because of this, I am often acknowledged as a leader the way you describe it in the last paragraph. I probably had enough good examples to copy from. But your post reinforced how important it is to see into people. Sometimes, this takes some effort, especially if you are stressed with/by something else. But it is our job as leaders to set the priorities straight as the come up. And as long as we don’t forget that we are leading *people*, this shouldn’t be a hard task.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      Thanks Henrik. I’m glad to hear that you have been blessed with great leadership in your life and business career. Appreciate the comment. Keep leading by example.

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  • KY

    I just wish that the management in my company learns this. They got each other’s back and keep things secret among themselves treating the rest of us like we’re nobody. Yet we’re the ones who get praises from our clients and they see the problem of our organization better than our own management does, which is a shame. People’s time spent at the company seems to be a waste because they have no intention of nurturing us or promoting us for OUR career growth.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachDanFoster Dan Foster

      KY – I’m sorry to hear this. From what you’ve described, it sounds unhealthy. I wish you the best in being a change agent for your existing organization or in finding a new place to work.

  • http://www.walletsonline.com.au/ mens wallets

    It is such a important question by the Max Lucado about that how we see the people around us. Its so important to know any person. Thanks to Max Lucado.

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  • claudia

    hi my name is claudia i want to know about things like how do you see