Showing UP And Not Showing UP
A VP of Operations for a retail chain makes a tour of the stores in a particular region. Their expectation – both spoken and unspoken, and whether the visits are announced or unannounced – is for everything to be in line for them and that they, as VP of “Ops”, are paid attention to. If they see something out of line, they make a point of it, right there in front of everyone, and demand that everything be dropped so that their orders are carried out. They spend no time in getting to know people, do not interact with customers, and make everyone long for the moment they leave the store.
Contract that with their counterpart in a competing chain. This VP goes to each store to interact with their staff and customers. They spend time discussing the vision of the company, lend assistance from greeting at the door to helping the new staff become better at their jobs. They bring an energy and synergy to the workplace, and when they leave, both the staff and the customers can’t wait for them to come back and visit them again.
We’ve all worked and seen these examples in our various organizations. The two distinctly different leadership styles give polar opposite results.
Leadership is more than about “showing UP”, about being there. It’s not just being a physical presence to make sure that everything is on track. Showing UP is about making deep connections with your people that generate positive and sustained results.
Woody Allen is famous for the quote “Showing up is 80 percent of life”.
Showing UP is about participation, being a part of something bigger than yourself, giving of your talents so that others may benefit.
An athlete doesn’t just show up to a game to wear the uniform; they show up to play the game and be part of the team.
An actress shows up to perform her role and support the cast, not to just take her place on stage.
The teacher doesn’t just show up to gain tenure, they are their for their students, molding them into fine young men and women who will be future leaders.
A firefighter doesn’t up to a raging fire to pretend they’re important; they arrive to save lives and bring control and calm to the crisis.
You probably see where the two VP’s lie within these examples. The first VP is more concerned about showing up for themselves, flexing their authority, and exerting their will upon the staff. His folks cringe at the thought of him showing up. They feel they could do their jobs better without having to dance around him. They don’t want him to show up again. They could care less about the sales, merchandising, or the organization, because he shows that he cares little for them.
The second VP shows up to serve, to add value, and to develop others to do the same. His people want him to be there regularly, because he helps them and they want to learn more from him. They can’t wait for him to show up so they can show him what they’ve learned and how they’ve taken their new skills to build sales and customer satisfaction. They care about him, and the business, because he cares about them.
Do your people want you to Show UP, or stay away? How this question is honestly answered will tell you everything you need to know about your credibility as a leader.
Be the leader that Shows UP, not just in body or position, but to instill the vision, the belief in others, and the power of teamwork in the organization.