Observation is our ability to watch and analyze our surroundings. When we use our five senses to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste, we experience different types of observations. Good observation is to be mindful of everything around us at any given point in time. And to remember little details of what we observe. Observation helps us in defining problem and develop a critical approach.

When we begin learning by observation, we become fully aware of our environment. We gain precious insights into human behavior. We even teach ourselves ways to get to the heart of an issue by asking the right questions. Memory plays an integral part in the meaning of observation. Only through correct observation can we translate seemingly disparate situations or happenings into a single cohesive insight.

Swati had been a secretary to the Head of Sales at an established frozen foods company for more than two years. Young and ambitious, she didnt want to remain a secretary for long. An idea had taken root in her mind, and she was waiting for an opportune moment to make her move. Swati had grown up as a very keen observer of her surroundings. It was her diligence, and an eye for detail that had made enroll at a secretarial school. But now, her powers of learning by observation were pushing her to more challenging pursuits. Her daily duties had provided her an excellent opportunity to observe the sales process pursued by the company. On occasion, she had taken time out to accompany the sales team on field visits and sales pitches. She learned all about commercial negotiations and the logistics of supply and delivery. And all of it through quiet observation. One fine morning, she walked up to her head of sales with a request to join the sales force. To her boss, another keen observer, Swati’s proposal did not come as a surprise at all. He was expecting it. He readily agreed, and today Swati is a high achieving salesperson, well on her way to becoming a team leader herself.


Mental and physical agility is a crucial part of honing your powers of observation. When your mind and body are alert, you are completely tuned to be in the present. To be at ease with yourself and observe the world around you without hindrance or digression. So, it is vital to adhere to a disciplined regime of physical and mental exercises.

Analytical Games
Playing with puzzles, chess, card games, and online games that test your analytical aptitude can vastly improve your logical reasoning skills. Playing games that help you enhance your memory skills also go a long way in sharpening your observation.

Conscious Practice
Like any new skill, learning the power of observation comes through constant practice. When you enter a room, observe even the smallest detail. Close your eyes and try to recall everything. Take a quick look around you and try to remember the color of each person’s clothing. Count the number of steps when you’re walking to your apartment. Simple exercises like these will teach you to be observant and conscious of your surroundings as you go through your day at work.

Be Patient
When you open your mind to new experiences, you begin noticing things that you had not been aware of earlier. Do not look at the world as black or white. Allow a lot of grey in it. Accept that people are different, and each of us has our habits, beliefs, and values. Do not ever make the mistake of judging people too quickly or harshly. Understand that the longer you observe something, the more you learn from it.

Stay Inquisitive
The curiosity to know more, learn new things, meet new people are all welcome traits of any professional career. You can add to your observation examples by participating in informal gatherings with your colleagues. Post-work outings or weekend meet-ups open up many opportunities for observation and learning about people and their behavior.


Observation is all about becoming more aware, smarter, and improving the quality of your life. It does help us hone self-management skills which in turn boosts our productivity and performance at work.

Remember, all great leaders are excellent observers because they continue to be the best learners throughout their lives.