As Shark Week comes to an end, let’s look at one more thing that makes sharks so unique — their incredible senses! They have eight senses, three more than we have, making them super sensitive, so to speak! These are sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing, lateral line (pressure sensors), pit organs and Lorenzini (or electrosenses).
To give you an idea of how incredible their senses are, sharks can amplify light better than night-hunting mammals, they can smell 10,000 times better than humans and they can locate their prey over several hundred meters.1 Now as far as a sense of humor, I would have to argue if they have one!
I think we often take our five senses for granted but think about them for a second and see how crucial they are to achieving success. We’ve talked about the importance of being curious, having agility and setting goals when you lead a team. Using our five senses is about putting these gifts all together and balancing them to maximize success.
- Vision: You can’t lead without vision, period. Having a vision pushes you forward, it helps you feel connected to your goal and to others, and it helps you see into the future and what your next actions need to be. “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch
- Smell: We don’t just communicate via language or vision. We all have something called pheromones, or chemicals that are emitted by our skin. According to Martha McClintock, University of Chicago, inhaling another person’s sweat, for instance, can affect our emotions and how the brain functions.2 Our smell is the strongest of our senses and it can lead with a great impression as well as an impression after you leave. Our very presence can be powerful. “Smell is the mute sense, the one without words.” – Diane Ackerman
- Touch: We touch the lives of our customers, our family and our friends in so many ways. Touching others is about having empathy and the ability to create lasting relationships. “If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.” – Anonymous
- Taste: Have you ever tasted success? Taste is a unique sense and is hard to explain in words. Taste leaves memories, just as food does. Have you seen something done in bad taste? Do you taste your words before you speak them? “A truly elegant taste is generally accompanied with excellency of heart.” – Henry Fielding
- Hearing: Are you a good listener? The power of listening is valuable! It is about being tentative and perceptive. It’s also the way we sound. Have you ever heard a speech and felt excited and engaged? What does a good speaker convey and how do they do it? “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker
Now that you are sensitized to these wonderful gifts, use them in your daily life. Your ability as a leader depends on them. Identify traits and characteristics of leaders and influencers across the organization and emulate them. However, remember to be uniquely you! Set yourself on the path to becoming everything you can and want to become.
“When you start using the senses you’ve neglected, your reward is to see the world with completely fresh eyes.” – Barbara Sher