I was in my mid-twenties when Michelangelo’s Pietà first captivated me. There in Vatican City, nestled in the heart of Rome, I walked into St. Peter’s Basilica and there it was. It drew me in slowly, then proceeded to mesmerize my soul with every exquisite detail. The folds of fabric, the veins on his feet and forearm, every muscle, tendon, and feature.
I’ve never seen a stone look so alive.
I came to the Vatican that day to experience the vastness of St. Peter’s and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I wasn’t prepared for what this masterpiece would do to me. I stood there for an hour drinking in its beauty as the crowds rose and fell around me.
Michelangelo said, “carving is easy, you just have to go down to the skin and stop.” He saw sculpting more as liberating than creating. When he looked at a stone, he could see the figures already living inside; his job was just to set them free.
That’s our job as leaders. We need to steer our eyes to see the masterpiece that’s already living in the people we’re leading. Our job is just to set the masterpiece free. Not only does this attitude serve your people, it serves your organization as well. If you want your company, team or community to become the best it can be, then make sure your people are becoming the best they can be.
Michelangelo liberated many magnificent sculptures, but as a leader you can liberate living masterpieces.
In whom will you look for a masterpiece today?