Leaders Show Up For Their Teams

We have all heard the phrase “showing up is half the battle” applied to many life scenarios – parenting, school, working out, being a good spouse. The same can be said for leadership, that leaders show up for their teams. In this episode of the Lead From Anywhere podcast, I take that idea step further and expand it to discuss the importance of how leaders show up.

Showing Up is a Big Part of Leadership – Listen Now!

Why Must Leaders Show Up?

Every decision a leader makes, no matter what’s going on around them, has pros and cons. There are always opportunity costs and potential consequences. But this pandemic has forced leaders to consider a whole different level of consequences, concerns, pros, and cons. Some decisions have literally had life and death consequences.

Yes – leaders everywhere are struggling through this pandemic.

When I question if I’m doing enough as a leader,  if I’m even leading at all, my wife quickly reminds me that I am. I am there, doing the work, in the trenches, and trying to make good decisions based on information I have at the time.

And that’s when I try to remember that showing up is a big part of leadership. Being there when your team needs you. So how do you show up as a leader, even when it feels like the wheels are falling off?

What I Focus On to Show Up As a Leader

First, I make sure I am accessible to my team. They know when I am in the office, and we use Slack to keep in touch throughout the day. If they ask for a call or meeting, I make it happen.

Second, I strive to be consistent in my approach to making decisions, When it comes to decisions, I rely on data, along with a healthy dose of my gut instinct. I also ask my team for their input. When I do make a decision, I explain why I made that decision.

Third, I make sure to remain calm when talking to my team. The last thing they need to see is me losing it. So, I make sure I don’t lose it in front of them. And trust me, I do lose it. But not in front of my team.

And finally, I make sure that when I show up, I’m able to show up in a compassionate and empathetic way. I show up to listen, to make sure they feel heard, and to make plans that result in the best decision for the most people.

How Can You Show Up As a Leader?

If you’ve never thought through how you show up as a leader, take a few minutes to write some of those things down. It doesn’t have to take very long; it can be just a list of 3-5 words. It’s a good idea to know what those words mean, though, in various situations (like a normal Tuesday or during a crisis), but a list is a good place to start.

One of my employees told me recently, after we had gotten through the initial Covid spikes in 2020, that she appreciated how I was always there in a calm way. I didn’t minimize what was going on; I also didn’t sugarcoat the potential impact on the business and their jobs. But I was there, calmly taking things one step at a time. And that was what my employee thanked me for doing.

You and I, we know that leadership is often a lonely job. The hard decisions and impossible situations land on our plate, and it’s our job to deal with them. It’s important to remember that a big part of our job is showing up.  But more than just being there – it’s how we show up that really matters.