Leaders Show Up
There is a running conversation I have had with a peer for some time about the concept of “butt in seat”. As defined, it meant that one did not miss an opportunity to be present as a leader. Showing up is a moment in time, that may take a few minutes, or a few hours. Generally speaking, there are always many options with how one can opt to spend their given time in a day, and “showing up” often has lots of competition from “important stuff”, “things that need to be done”, or “frankly, I have better things to do”.
How does a leader “show up” in an organization? What does that look like and who can see it? And, of course, que bono?
One immediate definition of “showing up” is to be present in every conversation you choose to have. And more importantly (and perhaps more difficult) be present in the conversations that people choose to have with you. Nothing is more disconcerting than having a critical conversation with the Boss when it dawns on you that you are the only one there. Giving 100% attention to people is a behavior trait that is hard to master and harder yet for anyone with a lot of stuff on their mind. While it may be forgivable if you got cold-called or unexpectedly dropped-in-on, it is unforgivable to initiate and then fade away. That screams “I am doing my MBWA like I am supposed to but I don’t care and I am not listening”. Multi-tasking is not for these conversations.
Leaders make the time to show up everywhere, regardless of the event. No moment, great or small, will be missed by a great leader who recognizes that the smaller the event, the larger the impact. Whether it’s a formal event to give kudos, or a small celebration for a milestone, showing up shows you are in touch with what is happening on the team, and that you are willing to lead by example. Celebrating the wins of others can be the divider between those who fully embrace what is required to be a leader and those who just don’t get it.
“People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
At Endurance Leader, a recent post has a few tips for how to “be present” for which everyone, regardless of role, should take note. The key concept here is being part of the space you presently occupy. The absent-minded, distracted, multi-tasking leader communicates through all of those behaviors that they are too important for the room, and thus, for the people in it. Whether it’s an event, or just a random get-together, understand your impact.