Sometimes Leadership is Just About Being There…

Have you ever thought about what it means to just be there and lead?

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

I spent the recent weekend in lockdown due to a little COVID outbreak. During this time, a colleague of mine was having an extremely difficult time in the district they manage outside the lockdown zone. Although people in these communities had left the lockdown region and returned home before it was put into place, the State Government backdated the time it took effect due to contact tracing unveiling the movements of those with the virus.

A key issue was whether to cancel a key event or not in the district concerned, as many community members were in the lockdown zone at the backdated time and in the hotspot areas. Another corresponding issue was that staff had been to the exposure sites and would see the key administration office closed. I was asked advice on these matters continuously throughout the 72 hours. Not that I have a problem with that, because it is part of what I do.

When leaders struggle, and they do, others have to step up to the plate and become leaders themselves. How do you do that I hear you ask?

It’s simple really. Just be there and listen. Most times that is what a person needs, regardless of who you are. Just listen. And if you are asked for advice, then give it. Remember though, do it in a constructive manner.

Being there can mean a range of things of course: in person, over the phone, video-conferencing, emailing and even texting.

In my case, I couldn’t be there in person, but I was on the end of the phone, and responding to texts and emails during that whole time. I had to give some very tough advice: cancel the community event, close the office until further notice and move key meetings back. Each one of these decisions, despite COVID, invites a level of criticism that is unwarranted. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. A responsible leader knows this: the safety of all is paramount regardless of what others say. It was a stressful time. And it’s not over, but hopefully all is well.

You can be a leader by just being there, Your presence provides reassurance, remember that!

19 Comments on “Sometimes Leadership is Just About Being There…”

  1. Hello SurePaw,

    Valuable insights from this case & the Give it an (off) Spin post.

    When I think about you being there professionally and personally for your associate, it is quite affirming to see risk management being applied conscientiously.

    We all exercise discretion – and often discernment – in our daily lives to not only survive by thrive. Leadership surely has a vicarious, and hopefully a positive, effect on the people you are engaging with, not just subordinates as it is also reassuring for those people with roles further up the accountability chain.

    Keep strategising and energising us, my friend, and I will take a wee bit of down time to listen to the BS&T album today,
    Tiger Lane

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your encouragement and support, Stevo. Your words go right to the heart of the matter. Enjoy BS&T, I think you will find it a pleasant and enjoyable surprise!

      Like

  2. An insightful and engaging post Sean. I love that, “damned if you do………………”

    As a Ward Manager, if I was off for a few days staff would always call to ask for advice and you’re right, sometimes all they wanted was someone to listen! They’d often already know what they were going to do about any given issue, they just wanted someone to hear it before they went ahead.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Very good points! So often, we tend to think of leaders as being the ones who do the talking. Taking charge and directing are important, but first comes listening to make sure we have all the information and perspectives needed to make the big decisions.

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. Thanks, Sean . . . the term “Helicopter Parents” is often used to describe those to involved in the minute details of their children’s lives. The same can be applied to Leaders . . . and your post addresses an urgent need to take a step back, listen, and collaborate on a proposed course of action. Great stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

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      Liked by 1 person

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