‘Showing up’. What it means and how to do it

Personal branding and executive presence have long been popular topics with my coaching clients. This week I was thinking about one of my early clients and the problem she had with maintaining her executive presence and brand. I’d like to tell you about her.

My client (Maria) was a new leader, and she was full of talent. I could see a bright future for her. Energetic, confident, and visionary, she inspired her team to better results than they’d achieved in years. It hadn’t always been that way. In the beginning, she struggled to gain the respect of her team.

Not long after Maria took on the leadership role, she experienced problems in her personal life that affected her work performance. It left her team confused about what to do and hesitant to bother her with questions or concerns. It all came to a head when the team missed a key deadline because Maria had forgotten to follow it through.

Maria had thought she was being a responsible leader by turning up every day, but she was only physically present. She wasn’t truly showing up. It wasn’t until she explained herself to the team that some positivity crept back in and the trust between them was restored.

Are you showing up as a leader?

Brene Brown says “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

I believe there are three essential elements to showing up.

  1. Being more than just physically present – being part of the moment.
  2. A willingness to be vulnerable and reveal yourself.
  3. Choosing an open mindset.

Maria had been physically present but that’s all. She wasn’t living in the moment, nor was she giving her attention to those around her. She turned up but was caught up inside her own worries.

When Maria chose to explain to her team what she was going through, she showed her vulnerability. She put her trust in her team and they responded by supporting her. People will tolerate much if they understand the reason behind it.

When I worked with Maria, I helped her see that her mindset dictated her results. Showing up with a negative mindset taught her brain to look for failure and to see people as obstacles. When she chose an open mindset or growth mindset, she could see possibilities and believed her team would be helpful, rather than obstructive. That’s exactly what happened. Showing up means bringing the right mindset with you.

Why showing up matters.

When you show up, you’re there in the heart of things. You gather the information you wouldn’t find as an onlooker. You experience situations the way your team does. You can monitor people’s reactions and discover their needs. You can see problems before they set in and discover good ideas that people might have hesitated to share with you. You build trusted relationships where there were none. There’s gold waiting there for the leader who shows up.

The most important part of being a leader is showing up. Only you can choose how you do that. How are you showing up as a leader today? If it’s not the leader you want to be, give me a call. Together we can work out how to get you there.

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