Viral Leadership: This Is What Happens When Leaders Show Up
What do you experience when you hear the word, “Cancer,” and it’s dreadful significance enters the life of a friend, colleague or family member? Do you socially distance yourself? Do you wait for an “update?”
This is not an easy time with the virus hiding on our hands or on door knobs. It feels like a virtual hospital and we’re looking for someone to help us cope. So here’s my two cents.
Show up! Be there for those you lead, influence or love. And, if you need them, here’s are some starting words, “How are you?” Or, “Just thought I’d call to see how you’re doing? or, “Just thought I’d stop by and see how you’re doing?” and then - listen.
Yes, just be there and just listen.
- Start a list of those you will call.
- Call five people every day.
- If your team is still working in the public spaces, visit them. Let them see you.
- Ask the questions.
It’s kind of like in a hospital with someone you know stricken with cancer. Don’t think you have to have the right words. Just show up and say, “ I just wanted to stop by and see how you’re doing.” Then, listen.
Remember this. No judgement. Today, people are fearful and some more than others. For many, the things they had faith in have been ripped away from them. Some more than others. If they look around and see you their leader, distancing yourself, they begin to imagine you as not present and without any concern for their needs or fears.
Even before this unseen enemy arrived sometime around December or January, the anxiety of Americans had increased as social media usage escalated and as the family structure continued to lose ground or break down. The politics of our day contributed as well along with addictions and a loss of shared American values. With the virus, anxiety has escalated into a profound loss of control and depression.
So, show up. Recently in the midst of our present scare, Regional Directors for a very large cellular company visited their retail stores. When they arrived they said, “I just dropped by to see how you’re doing?” and, then they sat down and listened.
After their visits, here’s a text one of them received.
“The guys and I appreciate you taking the time to come to the store and just be there. Thank you for taking the time to sit down with men. I really do appreciate that.”
Whether at someone’s bedside in a hospital on in the stainless steel environment of a business, when you show up people know you care and the impact of your presence stretches across the marketplace and even to rest of the country.
Anyone can lead in this way and make a big difference in the lives people. Remember this. In difficult times, people want to talk with someone. So, be there. Show up.
Let’s do this together. Lance