Titles and rank do not make us the highest performers, the best leaders, or the most respected people in our organization. Therefore, to “just show up” actually means less than nothing – it actually has a negative impact on the organization, and on the growth of ourselves and everyone around us. Here are two examples of just showing up:
Example 1: A person starts a new business and at the end of the first year they realize they have lost money. Their passion starts to fade because they thought being their own boss would be easier and that it would most definitely lead to more flexibility and more success. In their career before, they were successful because they planned, they went the extra mile, and they had complete focus. In their new business, they showed up for work everyday but did not do any of the extra things that a successful entrepreneur would do, such as networking, planning, seeking out mentors, and working harder than they ever had before. Instead, they just showed up.
Example 2: One of our top sales people inspired me to use this as an example because he did the same in a weekly sales note he sends out – Two sales people from different companies are attending the same conference, where they will be managing a booth space and meeting new prospects. Salesperson A shows up early, secures the best booth space, networks with the people managing the association (positioning for a speaking engagement the following year), scoping out the competition, etc. During the conference they make sure to be where the attendees are, so if the attendees are on break it is time to work the booth, and if they are in class that is where salesperson A will be. At night, salesperson A goes to the networking events and the hospitality event – heck they may even ride a mechanical bull or do karaoke in the right setting. Now switch to Salesperson B. They show up late to set up for the conference. Their booth is not there because coordination was bad with the home office. They get the worst booth space, and miss the entire first day of exhibiting. They do not show up for any of the networking events in the evening, and once their booth is set up on the second day, it is typical to find them there reading a book when the attendees are in class, rather than being where the attendees are, or making follow-up calls to other prospects. Salesperson B did not “just show up”, they barely showed up.
We know that success requires much more than just showing up. We also know that there are many “small things” (which really are not small in importance) that we must do to be great leaders. So besides being successful as an individual, to be a good leader means we have to care about others. We have to genuinely care and more importantly, we have to show it. This does not mean we have to go around hugging everyone and telling them how much we love them. There are very simple things that we should pay attention to, such as smiling, being pleasant, making it a point to know and care more about others than what they do at work, keeping our door open as much as possible, understanding what motivates others, and doing things that make our organization respectable and an enjoyable place to work.
Leadership requires two things. Prior and consistent success (being a good and respectable example for others), and genuinely caring about others, their success, and doing all the “small things” to create and maintain an atmosphere all are proud to be a part of.