In the movie Avatar, the Nabu people greeted each other with the words “I see you.”
For the Nabu, “I see you” wasn’t a throw-away line like “hey, how ya doin,” but seemed to be more of an honoring of the human spirit.

Since the movie came out, I’ve wondered if “I see you” is actually a very a cool three-word leadership seminar. I mean what if as leaders, we REALLY saw people—their strengths, intelligence, struggles, and desire to contribute. For one thing, we’d have more people in the right roles. We’d have higher engagement, efficiency and creative output. Less turnover. We might even inspire people to “see” each other, which could ignite more collaboration, camaraderie and trust.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting you start greeting everyone in the elevator with an audible “I see you.” But what if you followed the directive? Consider starting with a spouse, child, or friend in the morning. Instead of going right to the coffee and front page, take a moment to appreciate a quality, talent or passion. Or empathize with a struggle or challenge. Your thoughts alone will change the quality of your interactions.

If you want even more positive impact, here’s a stretch: let them know, in your own authentic way, what you see. That can be through words, or simply actions that show you’ve been paying attention and you see who they are and what’s important to them.

Then take it to work. “See” people with greater intention and attention, and notice what happens.