Making the invisible visible…

Leadership in view — seeing it and getting better at it.

If You Can’t See It, That Doesn’t Mean it Isn’t There…

Youngest son, currently finishing his degree at home in his attic bedroom, was keen to talk through a chapter of his dissertation on institutional memory. Sometimes he likes to articulate the work he’s doing, talk, and make sense of it out loud… I always find him interesting and I’m happy to listen.

‘It’s not a ‘thing’,’ he told me, but I have identified, and I’m describing three effects of it and how they change over the period.’

I almost laughed, actually, because it’s exactly the language I might use with someone who comes to talk about leadership…

…just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there to be described.

It was the perfect analogy for everything we talk about when we talk about leadership, or any of those things in organisations-collaboration, connection, innovation…

Making the Invisible Visible (it’s your job!)

There’s rarely, if ever a thing we can see called ‘leadership’; we can’t describe its physical form, you couldn’t tell me its shape, how many angles it has, how much it weighs or the its chemical formula. You would laugh I’m sure, and we could laugh together.

But the effects of it are fully visible for us to notice and, of course, have opinions about.

How well do your team work together, how creative are they, how quickly do they bounce back, and what kinds of outputs are you creating together?

Regardless of the how you feel about the answer to any of those questions, there’s no denying the visible impacts of this invisible thing we are all tapping into when we turn up for work.

We know it when we feel it, and we can describe and quantify the effects of this invisible movement of ideas and experience.


This is what you do every day, it’s what I shine a light on when I’m coaching and training-this ‘playing with stardust’ as I sometimes call it.

The better we understand this invisible innate intelligence, this ‘thing’ that creates all the magic in our lives and work, the better we will become at cultivating and utilising it, call it leadership or whatever you want.

What do you see when you look for leadership?

Are you seeing the ‘thing’, or the effects? And how do you then draw out and play with something that’s invisible?

That’s the game here!


With love,


Cathy Presland

Here to help with leadership and impact. I have lots of free resources here, including regular leadership seminars, if you’d like to explore more deeply or join a conversation.

Originally published at on March 16, 2021.

What if making an impact was part of your everyday? Stories to light up your soul. Read more and free courses:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store