Isn't it easy to review someone else's work and make suggestions and corrections? The same is true with other people's actions--essentially, it's surprisingly easy to find fault in others.

The difficult part about leading others is adding and suggesting things that are not observable--in other words, uncovering the Invisible.

Seeing the Invisible is the most important superpower that you need in order to lead. Because what's not there might be more important than the incremental changes you can make on those things that are.

Here's some examples:

  • If your team is consistently submitting vague, late projects is it because they're incapable, or because you don't have training or the existence of a Project Management Office?
  • If people are consistently late, is it because they are not conscientious, or instead because YOU do not hold people accountable?

There are essentially seven ways to train yourself to see the Invisible, and it takes constant mental energy:

1) Understand that there almost always is a cloak of invisibility and you must remind yourself to find the cloak and remove it

2) Find root causes by "Asking Five Whys"

3) As business magnate Elon Musk explains, use First Principles. Don't reason by analogy, but start with basic truths and work your way forward. Analogous thinking is constraining.

4) Before reading or hearing someone else's theory or suggestion, ask yourself what you'd do so that you are not anchored in others' positions

5) Ask open-ended questions to uncover things you can't see, but the author might have seen.

Examples are "What are some things you didn't include because you thought it would be impossible to do," or "What are some risks associated with your suggestion and what are some ways to mitigate them?"

6) Get input from those who do not have anything to gain or lose.

7) Get input from those who know little about the topic, so their "naivety" works to your advantage by asking questions that might not seem obvious to you.

As more clearly explained in Daniel Gilbert's book, Stumbling on Happiness, the brain plays tricks on you with selective memory, filling in blanks, and other blockers. So what you believe to be true is merely an interpretation of what may be true. This makes it especially hard to uncover other people's interpretations and conclusions when you are blinded by a lack of reality.

There's also a bias to work on things that you can instantly make a difference; therefore, it's quicker to modify others' work than to come up with your own view.

It doesn't take superhuman powers to read another's mind--just the awareness that something else is there, and developing the concentration to uncover the Invisible!