From Where We Sit

The Power of Showing Up

How a leader shows up is everything. The attitude you have, the words you speak, and the body language you display that you don’t think anybody else sees (but of course they do), all contribute to the value—or lack thereof—that you, as a leader, create for others. I recently watched a panel of Fortune 100 CEOs and learned about the concept of perspective management; every single executive talked about this topic during their remarks. The term was new to me, but inherently easy to understand and embrace. Here are my takeaways!

Perception is everything, especially when our perceptions drive our attitudes and our attitudes affect others. In a constantly changing, competitive landscape, how leaders comport themselves has direct implications for the organizational climate and in painting the picture for newbies as to what effective leadership looks like. For every leader who sees uncertainty, for example, somebody else sees opportunity; for every leader who sees risk, another sees reward. How leaders show up is contagious.

The difference between leaders who show up at work and those who show up to work is intentionality. The former reacts to fires whereas the latter proacts to the ingredients that cause fires; they anticipate masterfully and adeptly assess their subsequent impact upon others. They know that body language sends powerful messages and that people pick up on what they didn’t say or do just as much as what they said or did. Remember, people like hearing a vision and having some direction—especially in turbulent times. Any sort of communication in this regard offers a degree of certainty and trust, because it communicates that A) leadership is aware of the circumstances and B) they have a plan to deal with it. Leaders also understand that not every problem needs a solution. Sometimes, the best thing a leader can do is just to listen to issues and challenges, and not react.

The American film director and comedian Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I challenge each of you to show up and create your next opportunity!

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