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Can you see the pattern? | Future Leaders Blog

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Wayne Gretzy is a legendary Canadian ice-hockey player. Some would say he’s the best player ever. Regardless, he is an inspiration of excellence and leadership that we can all learn from.

In one of his many interviews while still active, he was asked what made him such a good player, what made him more successful than others.

His simple response was this: so many players go to where the puck is, while he went where the puck was about to go. He had the ability to read the other players’ patterns, to understand what would happen next, where the game was going, what others would do. He was excellent at observing and noticing those patterns and to use that information to guide himself to where the puck was going.

Wouldn’t you agree that everything in life is a pattern? Nature has its patterns. Weather and seasons have patterns. Human beings have behavioural patterns; habits in their thoughts, feelings and actions.

As our awareness grows, we can communicate better, create better relationships and lead better

The better we can become at noticing our own patterns (= self awareness) and those of others (=social awareness), the better results we can get. As our awareness grows, we can communicate better, create better relationships and lead better.

AND if we can become aware of our own patterns, we can also change them. If our habits are not working for us, we can change them, hence get better results. We all get stuck at times, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We of course need to do things differently if we want to get different results. Habits and patterns aren’t always easy to break, but if we can start by becoming aware of them, then we are well on our way to change. And we can start creating new, more effective and powerful patterns, one step at a time.

AND if we can become aware of other people’s habits and situational patterns, we can start to predict some of what’s coming up, so we can approach situations in the best possible way.

Yes, an increasingly important EQ skill for future leaders is to observe and listen carefully. Let’s take inspiration from the legendary Gretzky and become masters of patterns just like him, and not just see what’s happening right now but also what might be happening next.

About the authors

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.

Their latest book, multi-award-winning ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions”, published by Financial Times International is a practical tool for building winning teams. You can download a free chapter of the book at www.leadingteamsbook.com

Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”Enjoyable to read. Simple to understand. Practical to implement. A must read for team members or leadersDebbie Fogel-Monnissen, Executive Vice President, International Markets Finance Officer, Mastercard, NY, USA

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