Show up to Lead!

Management is not Leadership - Part 3

Show Up and Lead!


I have written in past articles of the attributes and skills that are needed to be holistic leaders. These include traits such as authenticity, compassion, vulnerability and humility. In the hands of individuals who have the skill to inspire and encourage others these traits have the power to be transformational. They can move organizations forward, create innovation and drive results. But it all starts with showing up!


Showing up does not mean just arriving at the office or making it to the meeting. It means being fully present for the moment as it unfolds. We are all too often guilty of operating in the past or grasping for the future. That is another form of not showing up. If in a strategy meeting you are still caught up in an earlier conversation or thinking about an upcoming session with the board, you miss the opportunity in the moment to lead. You are not present; you did not show up.


It is critical to be present, to spend your time as a leader in the moment. The present moment is the only place from which you can effectively lead. You cannot motivate people in the past. Inspiration starts now, not in the future. Listening, compassion, vulnerability all occur in this moment. The point is simple, show up to lead.



Clinging to the past and grasping at the future are traps, which we all fall into. The key is recognizing when we fall and the speed in which we pull ourselves out. That comes from knowing yourself and creating the space needed to see your mind. Certain steps can be taken to support showing up in the present moment. Leave technology behind; don’t come to a meeting with laptop, iPad or phone. Check you mind at the door. Where are you, past, future or present? I am a big proponent of developing a meditation practice. There is little that provides as much insight as just sitting with your mind. You learn so much including how thoughts are not real, but just waves passing through. 


The most effective leaders are fully present; they spend the majority of their time in this moment. They are not sitting in meetings ruminating about past interactions or dreaming about future outcomes. They are fully aware and completely open to what is about to unfurl. Their presence is palpable; it changes the dynamic in the conference room. It commands reciprocity; it encourages and inspires. Present leaders who are authentic, compassionate, vulnerable and humble drive performance, engagement and creativity.


The next time you find yourself in a meeting, or in a one-on-one with an employee, be there fully, show up and lead.


To learn more about this form of leadership, schedule a growth session.


Thanks for reading and happy holidays.