Who You Show Up As Matters

We’re on a bit of a roll regards creating a space where our team can feel safe to fully contribute and where we can create an atmosphere of trust and consequent speed of operation.  In the past two weeks, we’ve discussed our ability to Speak Up & Speak In, as well as Honesty, Respect, Integrity & Trust – the ingredients for creating that space to speak into.

We’ve also stated that the only way to make any of this happen is to step up and model it ourselves – to lead as individuals in the ways we’d like to see others show up.  That’s where I’d like to stick today.

How we show up as team members matters.  Whether you’re the leader or the follower, the Captain or the Copilot, the teacher or the student… how you show up and how you contribute matters.

In aviation, one of the biggest factors affecting the crew’s ability to enjoy a flight is how the rest of your crew shows up.  We’ve all agreed by signing up for the career to show up as fully functioning, fully contributing team members who constantly shoot for greater precision and efficiency in everything that we do – but let’s be honest – who we spend our time flying with matters.  First prize is flying with a crew of people who are switched on and ready to contribute consistently in an upbeat and open manner.  They are enjoyable to work with and everybody’s contribution is welcomed and appreciated.

I remember doing a flight test many years ago with a Designated Examiner I’d never flown with before and haven’t flown with since.  The renewal of my licence hinged on that flight test and I was super prepared considering I was flying out of an unfamiliar airfield with an unfamiliar person.  The plane was fuelled and prepped, and the paperwork was shiny, allowing for every possible request and eventuality.  I was ready.  5 hours later, my paperwork was still being pulled apart and I was still being grilled with every conceivable question and variation on the ground.  That I was prepared seemed to frustrate him.  He took his time working up his plan for the flight and asking me for new information when the plan changed.  When I offered him coffee and a koeksister, he looked at me like I’d shot him, with disdain that clearly indicated he’d never put either of those things in his body.  When we finally got going, it was late at night and I was fairly deflated.  Perhaps that was the point.

I passed the flight test.  Life went on.  I’ve always wondered what happened that night or what lesson he intended to leave me with.  He wasn’t someone you could just ask.  We had spent considerable time together, and I left confused, demoralised and dead tired.  Even though I had the paperwork in my hand to renew my licence, I felt like I’d failed somehow.

In complete contrast, some of my hardest hitting takeaways from my flying experiences have been delivered in humorous one-liners that hit home whilst diffusing the tension of a learning opportunity.

We only have to think back to our own schooling careers to realise how important it is who we choose to show up as.

Think back and consider your best teacher and your worst teacher.  Why were they your best and worst teachers?  The reasons probably have little to do with the subject that they taught and everything to do with how they showed up as a person.  Some of them had considerable influence over which subjects we flourished in or dropped; which careers we picked, and how we felt about ourselves.  Whether there were open, funny, patient, enthusiastic, passionate and encouraging; or bored, indifferent, angry, shouty or apathetic left huge impressions on us.  Each of them represented value systems to us that we bought into willingly….or not.  We remember them for what they stood for long after the subject matter they taught has faded.

Whilst these people were in positions of power when it came to speaking into our lives, every one of us contributes what we bring to every team we’re a part of.  How you show up and what you contribute sends a ripple through the experience of everyone you come into contact with, no more so than when you spend time with people in a team environment.

Who you show up as matters.  Whether you are consistent in how you show up allows you to build trust with your team.  How you approach life, your work and other people is both an example and a contribution, the energy of which will directly impact those around you.  If you’re in a position of leadership, this impact is significantly amplified.

Think about how your best and worst teachers have shown up for you.  What were the characteristics they displayed that were helpful or not helpful?  Which positive characteristics, values, traits do you wish to be known for as an individual, and what do they look like in action?  How will you deliver them consistently?  Are you contributing to an environment that people feel safe to contribute to and learn in?  Are everyone’s strengths welcome and made use of?  Have you created a space for team members to speak up and speak in?  How are you making the way you show up matter?

by Christen Killick

February 17th, 2020

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.