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A Leader Who Showed Up Is Always Looked Up

Let me start by sharing a story to which I guess most can relate.

(Based on a true story — from a friend’s friend of a friend)


“It was midweek and almost 5 pm when I received an email with lots of familiar names cc-ed for an engagement meeting of project A with the chairman in the next two days. I was invited to facilitate, sort of.

A glance at the team chart, and recognise the team’s leader’s name. He is someone I don’t find awkward to speak and greet every time we stumbled upon each other in the office.

People say; ‘
the professionalism and attitude of a person are manifested when we work together with them’. Never had the chance to work together with him, so yeah…at least I keep a good first impression on him.

Two days later…

I got ready early that morning and prepared my stuff for the meeting. I was having my coffee when I received a message from Microsoft Teams:

Team, please proceed on the meeting with the chairman for Project A without me, as I am away for an away day for Project B. Kindly raise blabla…

I put my coffee down and find my way to see the project’s team. They looked at me and gave me that ‘rollling eyes’ look and that’s when I learned to see the chaos behind all the silence”


Now back to me.

Let’s put aside some anger and frustration growing in you now. You are here to learn a lesson, not gossiping. Haha.

Showing up can be fearful words to many, especially leaders
. Trust me, showing up ain’t easy but failing to show up even for the most legit reasons can tarnish a person’s credibility and reputation.

This brings me to when I was still on maternity leave and we received sad news of my late father-in-law’s passing away. We travelled over 400km and back within only a few days. Trust me I could list ten solid reasons not to show up for a
2-day Corporate Leadership Training and I sure can convince my clients to let it slide for once.

The Corporate Leadership Training is programmed for lines of managers from various disciplines and team leaders of projects and divisions. During this training, participants from corporate will be re-introduced to their colleagues, bosses, and subordinates through interpretation of different personalities, Color Brain and Emotional Drives.

It breaks the thin, transparent wall between them that creates misassumptions, misaligned communications and perceptions. It was surely hard and awkward in the beginning, but everyone gave it a whirl and opened up wider throughout the whole session.

Well, a coach gotta do what a coach gotta do!

Back to where I left off again…

So, instead of giving my proposal to postpone the training, I was pushed and given bountiful support from my assistant and family to not put this behind me just because the situation seemed not ‘at it’s time’. Showing up despite all excusable reasons and giving my best energy, attention and focus to the training was indeed giving me a ‘runner’s high’.

Ain’t easy, so I put together some lessons and thoughts from these two stories for you:

1 - Learn your fears.

Understand and overcome them. Ain’t happening overnight, so gotta work on that one at a time, bit by bit. Use helps and tools: aromatherapy, new habits, journals, arts; just to name a few.

2 - Find at least one reason to show up.

Even if it sounds silly and unimportant to others, as long it works for you, hold it tight and right. Even if you have a long list of doing the opposite, you against the odds will be worth it all. 

3 - Showing up for your team, even if you have very little to say is still a remarkable action of responsibility.

Bearing responsibility and leadership can be so much lighter when you show up, ask and communicate. Again, it won’t be a success overnight. Effective communication, leadership and any skills take practice before you master.

4 - A leader serves the team.

Quoted from Elon Musk when he was asked to define leadership at Tesla, written in three words:

Serve the team.

But I would love to take the quotation originally modelled and inspired by the prophet Muhammad’s leadership who endlessly, selflessly serves others as models of ideal leader criteria.

To sum up, 
chin up cause it’s show time!

Still not finding one reason to show up? Let’s talk, perhaps I can help you see one.

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