Why “Show Up & Lead”

Geoffrey X Lane

What do I mean by show up and lead?

My definition to show up means to be real and genuine, authentic and human, not playing the role of leadership based upon the latest trend or book. The challenge is to be yourself and NOT to take on the trappings and attitudes of power and the role of expected leadership. Many will demand you do this, as it makes life easier for them, then they just follow, worship and eventually burn you at the stake because you failed to live up to “their” definition and unrealistic expectations of a leader.

You may ask yourself what does this have to do with leadership? I believe everything in the 21st century. The old-model of leadership, based upon command, control and coercion has led us to autocratic, dogmatic and bullies at every level of the workplace. Unfortunately, this style of leadership still happens today take a look at the mess at Uber.

A New Workforce

They are educated and they (Millennials) are on track to become the most educated generation in Western history. That does not make them street smart, but educated, social, web savvy and opinionated. They can spot a phony a mile away, and the old style of leadership is met with resistance, or they simply quit and go somewhere else. For them authenticity is a natural state and demanded from the whole organization.

They are tech savvy – the first generation to grow up constantly connected to the world, and are what the Pew Research Center has labeled “Digital natives in a land of digital immigrants.” They instinctively know how it works where as many leaders are still in a funk about technology!

If you are a manager or leader or even perhaps you work with a millennial is easy to believe that you know the right way (read old way) and if they don’t comply it’s even easier to criticize and try to coerce them. They are different and yet have some wonderful traits but you will not see them if you constantly criticize cajole and try to make them do it your way.

As I write this blog I am in Toronto airport – shortly I will be speaking about ‘Authenticity’. I have been a passionate advocate for the power of showing up, authentic leadership, self-expression and communication for more than two decades. My keynotes are built around the benefits of being real, clear communication with your customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders

“Each of us builds our world in our own image. We have the power to choose, but no power to escape the eventual necessity of choice, do you choose authenticity? For not to choose it – is to choose to be inauthentic – each has its price and reward.”  GXL

The concept of authenticity has received a significant amount of attention as people search for expression, meaning and purpose, particularly in their work lives and as the age materialism comes to lose value.  Many people are looking for a greater meaning for their lives beyond the long hours, big pay check and searching for more real life.

How you choose to live more authentically depends on your perspective on authenticity, you and I are different. Different people have different views about authenticity and most people feel very strongly about their own views.

For over two decades, I have studied authenticity and made the choice to live authentically. The issue is central to my own understanding and practice of leadership and authentic self-expression. Over this period, I have gathered from song, drama, literature, psychology, and contemplative traditions various ideas, beliefs that mark the understanding of others who grappled with the issue of living authentically.

Get Noticed. Be Remembered. Always Show Up & Lead

All the best Geoffrey

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