Showing Up

As we come up on the mid-term elections, I am reminded of a quote: “80% of success is showing up.”  “Showing up” to vote is a critical step in ensuring that your voice is heard and that you have an impact on the outcome. This doesn’t mean that your candidate necessarily wins, but it is a critical starting point for success. Whether you are showing up to vote, to the gym or to work, the act of “showing up” is crucial to success.  And the more “showing up” is repeated, the higher the chance for success.  But why is showing up so important? 

The answer is probably obvious when it comes to voting, especially considering the issues facing our world today.  And the gym, well the results of “showing up” should speak for themselves.  But what about the work environment?  

Many leaders today are having to manage a very different workforce than they did pre-pandemic. A majority of businesses shifted from mandatory in-office work to 100% remote or a hybrid mix.  Heavy competition in the job market for top talent is still demanding this flexibility.  When you consider adding outsourced teams that may be located in drastically different time zones, how can leaders ensure their team members are “showing up” daily and contributing to the organizational goals? 

And if those scenarios aren’t challenging enough, consider that most meetings are wholly or partially via video conference and many employees don’t like to use their cameras. How can leaders foster engagement and team participation when there is no visual connection?  There is no easy answer, but when you consider that the success of an organization is largely determined by its most critical asset, its employees, leaders today must think creatively when it comes to creating motivated and engaged teams.   

One thing effective leaders do is hold team meetings on a regular cadence to ensure a mutual understanding of what success looks like and keep the team working toward a common goal that supports the overall business strategy.  A positive attitude and team trust set the stage for honest discussions.  These leaders are active listeners at these meetings, rarely putting their thoughts forward unless the team needs guidance.  They encourage participation of all team members in the discussion and provide positive feedback for their contributions.  At the end of every meeting, summarize what you heard from your team (they want to know you are listening to them) and allow time for questions and/or clarification.   In a dynamic environment, I recommend weekly touchpoints because it is much easier to manage progress week to week than to wait an entire month and realize there may have been gaps in expectations, a lack of clarity of objectives, or impediments that could have been resolved. 

Further, one-on-one touchpoints with each team member are a must and can be a fantastic opportunity to assist in their career growth.  If you are sincere and genuine in these sessions, your ability to lead, influence and measure success is made much easier.  These one-on-ones do not need to be long meetings, in fact, 15 minutes or less is a good goal. But the most important thing is you must build a trusting relationship with that employee.  Each employee is unique with their own communication styles and preferences.  Effective leaders figure out how to effectively communicate with each person.  I need to stress that it is easy to turn these 1-1 meetings into “micro-management’ sessions.  Please don’t!  These meetings are to ensure alignment and to ensure that the employee has the resources to accomplish the tasks at hand.  You are the facilitator, so give them the bandwidth and opportunity to grow and do what you can to set them up for success. 

If it is true that “80% of success is showing up,” then it is imperative that leaders today model the behavior of “showing up,” physical presence (at least on video), active listening and active engagement with their team members to ensure organizational success.   And don’t forget to “show up” to vote on November 8th. It’s a first step to impact the outcome of success for your candidate.