There’s a good chance that Ernst Weber isn’t a name you think of, but he did some interesting work in psychology at the close of the 19th century that may be useful to you today. He found that there is a relationship between the amount of stimulation you’re receiving and the degree to which it must change before you notice a difference.
For example, in order for you to notice a difference in length, you won’t have a clue until it has changed about 1%. Loudness has to change by about 10% before you’ll catch the difference and odor has to change by about 5%. Each of these is what is called a “discrimination threshold,” the meaning of which is obvious.
Nobody has done a study on how much the people who look to you for leadership have to change before it dawns on you that something is different. Nevertheless, the concept begs the question of whether you’re missing important cues about your people, what is going on for them and the level of their engagement.
Are you tuned in to your people’s messages? It’s broadcast through their actions, their attitudes and their slightest body language and they want you to pay attention and notice. That’s key if you’re going to be the best leader you can be and drive the best results.
We don’t know how much your people have to change before you’ll notice, yet there is something you can do to stay on top of things. Periodically have a howgozit conversation with your people and really listen to what they say. You know, Fully Alive Leadership Principle #3: Listen. Listen solely for understanding.
Looking for that discrimination threshold just might be the difference that takes you over the success threshold.
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