Showing Up

By Patricia Reich 

This summer, some of you will be traveling to perform in summer internships, some of you will be starting new full-time jobs, and some of you will be working inside full-time jobs you already hold. In all cases, your colleagues (both your peers and supervisors) will be observing you to see how the leader in you shows up. The fact that you are completing an MBA calls attention to you that you might not otherwise get.

People want to see what an MBA can do, so take the opportunity to show them not only what you can do, but earn their trust by showing them how you do it.

Trust is a function of competence and character. To demonstrate competence, it is imperative that you execute with precision, ensuring that technicalities are addressed thoroughly, that work is completed according to specification, and that everything you do is on time whenever possible and communicated as delayed whenever not. People will learn they can rely on you when you consistently deliver on your commitments.

Doing what you’ve said you would do also helps people to understand your character, that beyond getting the work right, your heart’s in the right place, you won’t let your team down, you’ve committed your core strengths to their success.

Commit from your core. As a leader, one of the most important decisions you will make is where and when to be fully present. Presence means much more than what you wear and whether your shoes are polished or not. Though those details matter too, it’s not what’s on the outside that makes the most difference to others. It’s the principles that drive you from the inside that differentiate you. It’s the quality of your interpersonal integrity.

  • Work from a place of purpose. In the work you do, what matters most?
  • Be intentional. What should your impact be and how committed are you to making that impact?
  • Connect with others. How can you involve others in a collaborative success that engenders trust for the next collaborative success?

Involve others. Often, we get hyper focused on our own achievement and we become monocular, seeing only the narrow lane between where we are now and our own goal. As we push our singular energy straight ahead, we can lose our peripheral vision and lose our connection with the people who are working in the spaces beside us. Losing sight of others, because you’ve lost your own perspective is actually harmful to your organizational performance and to your leadership reputation.

Research shows that people pay close attention when their own interests are involved, so asking other people for their opinions, considering their priorities, learning from them what you don’t yet understand will keep them connected and will keep your view open.

  • Be receptive. What do your peers know that you don’t yet? How can you become bigger by learning from them?
  • Be generous. What is important to the people that you work with? What can you bring to each individual that will make his or her work experience better?

Showing up, isn’t about the show, it’s about bringing your full self into your work life in order to do great work and to make a difference to the work life of your colleagues. If you do both, you will build an excellent work reputation along with deep and durable relationships.