Many of us engage in people watching during idle times such as at the airport or maybe the mall. However, great executives engage in people watching all of the time. People watching involves the eyes and ears but not the mouth.

Watching strangers can be entertaining but usually brings little value. Watching people you know, especially those you work with can reap great benefits. This type of watching has context – you know them, their personalities, habits, likes and dislikes. This makes watching and listening far more productive.

The old saying is do what I say not what I do. Being able to discover or confirm if the behavior matches the words is quite valuable. Are your people or colleagues consistent in their words and actions? Are they telling you what you want to hear versus the whole story?

Northern Star Bottom Line: People watching is not only fun but highly enlightening.