Today marks the first in a series that I am calling “Leadership Basics.” These will be short and quick tidbits that will help focus on some of the things that I believe are fundamental and basic to being a great leader.
This one is so obvious and simple. Be there. You could also say be present. and you could say be visible. But, whatever you do, be there. Leadership is not a remote control activity. As leaders, we must be present and we must be visibly on the scene whenever anything big is going down.
Too often we like to show up for the big event if it is going to be fun and celebratory. That doesn’t take leadership and guts. How about showing up when the activity is going to be tense and potentially contentious? Are you there? Or are you conspicuously absent?
I do not know anyone who doesn’t possess a cell phone or smart phone. These devices have had clocks, watches, and alarm functions almost since the very first ones came on the market and were mounted in your car! There is really no excuse for being late. Period. Full stop.
Will it happen from time to time? Of course. You can’t always plan for every potential delay that you will face as your move about. But, better to leave early and arrive early than to leave without enough contingent time built into your schedule to account for the occasional traffic accident or blinking traffic light.
Why does this matter?
I am currently blessed with an incredible mentor. He is teaching me and modeling for me such incredible leadership greatness. I have the opportunity to observe him in many situations in his place of leadership. He is always very visible. Not in a showy or in a way that seeks the spotlight. Quite the opposite. He is most often visible standing off to the side talking to his team or “working the crowd” and making sure that he is available and approachable by those present at the event. He is “there.”
We recently met for breakfast. I set out to arrive 10-15 minutes early and make sure we could get a table at the restaurant. I got out of my car and walked to the door and opened it. There he was. He had already arrived. He was waiting for me. That sends a message to me that he values my time enough that he would arrive early and be there when I arrived. He is “punctual.”