There are many underground cities throughout the world. Several of them are located in Turkey in a volcanic rock landscape but perhaps the most vast and impressive is Derinkuyu, Turkey. This underground city went 200ft below the surface and could hold up to 20,000 people plus livestock and food. As research suggests, this city may have been started as caves in the 7th and 8th century, but it was fully formed during the mid- Byzantine era when it was used for protection during the Arab-Byzantine wars. These caves became a city and eventually tunnels were constructed connecting Derinkuyu with other cities…. all underground. Derinkuyu held wine and oil presses, bathhouses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, chapels, living areas and more. There were reportedly 18 stories in this fully functioning city. As recently as the early 1900s this city was being used by those who needed a safe place to escape periodic persecutions. However, in 1923 the Christian inhabitants of the region were expelled from Turkey and the tunnels became abandoned and forgotten. In 1963, they were rediscovered accidentally by someone who was renovating his home and found a mysterious tunnel behind a wall he knocked out.

As leaders we may not realize sometimes the hidden tunnels, or talents, of our employees unless we search for them. Just as with the city of Derinkuyu, there may be many things that our employees have the ability to do, but we will not be able to help them use these talents unless we know they have them. Exceptional Leaders pay attention to the natural abilities of their people and then put them in positions to use these strengths.

Don’t wait for something to “accidentally” happen in order for you to discover these hidden talents. Watch, listen, look for the strengths of your people and then open doors for them to use these strengths.