What it Means for Leaders to Show Up
Recently, Pam Fox Rollin interviewed me for her Weekly Leader podcast. When I talked about the importance of how leaders show up, Pam paused to ask me to define that for her. It took a few seconds for me to collect my thoughts because this idea / concept / way of being has been with me for many years.
1992 was the first time I heard “show up” in a way that took on a whole new meaning for me. Angeles Arrien and Michael Meade gave a workshop at Mills College (Oakland, California) when I heard her describe the Four-Fold Way. It has become a practice of mine since that time. Simple yet challenging. Angeles and how she “shows up” made quite an impression on me that weekend; enough so that she became a very important teacher and mentor in my life.
The Four-Fold Way in short:
- Show up, and choose to be present.
- Pay attention to what has heart and meaning.
- Tell the truth without blame or judgment.
- Be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.
Let’s unpack Show up. Ask yourself,” how do I show up?” Am I present? Do people feel and experience my availability to be there for them or am I distracted, on to the next thing, focused on what I want to say; the point I want to make, forcing an outcome I think is best? Do I show-up as wise, inviting, real, open, clear, honest … ? Do I show-up as striving to be clever, to look good, be the star, as dominant, reactive, overbearing, manipulative, trying to please, arrogant, passive, critical, controlling … ? People see us.
Often these patterns are coping strategies that were beneficial early in life but have become walls that keep us apart from one another and from ourselves.
One of the reasons I love to work with the Enneagram is that it quickly points to these patterns and brings them out in the open. If you can’t see it or acknowledge it, you can’t change it.
The good news is that, once visible to us, we have a choice and a chance to shift these patterns.
Fully showing-up means we show-up for ourselves and are present to both our inner-self and outer world. When we are fully present in this way, we turn off the auto-pilot, listen to what is going on inside us, and respond to the context–“what would best serve me and others in this moment? What would be most effective right now?”
When we show up and are present, we can listen to what has heart and meaning, tell the truth without blame or judgment and be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.
When we show up, we have access to our inner guidance that helps us navigate through calm and rough seas. It is only through this deep listening — when we show up fully to ourselves and others — that we become free.
Photo (c) Molly Page