People talk about voicing opinions, but don’t forget the power of voicing observations.

Focusing attention on what is really going on is a big part of leadership.

If a meeting seems to be going down a rat hole, a leader needs to say so.

If the team seems to be talking about the same old problems and not taking effective actions to handle, the leader needs to point this out too.

When I was learning to sail, my instructor told me to look behind us at the wake trail of the boat. It was a crazy “S” pattern and I immediately understood he was telling me I was over steering.

But pointing things out is not limited to when things have gone off track. Leaders must point out the positive too. Catch people doing the right thing and let them know you saw it.

Research has shown that it takes 3-5 positive comments to balance out one negative comment to keep relationships healthy.

Leaders consistently tell me that when they improve the ratio of comments from themselves to the team, communication is enhanced, and the positive feeling translates into better team effectiveness.

Just remember what the TSA likes to remind us of at the airport: if you see something, say something.

It’s a good leadership maxim too, in good times and bad.