Show up. Be counted. Take the lead.

Show up. Be counted. Take the lead.

If you ever cared to observe, back in schools, most Class Reps or Class Governors or even Assignment Team Leads don’t get elected through voting process. We just chose them. Mostly, we chose (and perhaps still do) not those who are desperate, but those who show up to solve a class-related problem; those who organize class tutorials; those who were quick to serve as bridge between us and lecturers. This tells a big story.

Let me ask a rhetorical question. You entered a public convenience to free your bowel (that’s being less offensive) and you observed that the person who last used the place ‘forgot’ to flush things off. What would you do? Do you put things right and keep the place clean nonetheless (not minding whether you still choose to use it or not), or you simply dash out in anger lamenting and looking for whose fault it is? Your inner response to this tells a big story about your readiness or capacity for leadership roles. That you are not the cause of a problem doesn’t absolve you of responsibility to fix it.  

If you’re a business owner and your customer raises concerns about your employee’s mistakes or poor service offerings, you need to take full responsibility for the issue raised and fix it rather find ways to extricate yourself or the company of blame.

Same applies if you’re a team lead or departmental head. If your subordinate messes up on an official assignment, you need to first take responsibility for the error and fix the problem rather find ways to extricate yourself of the blame. Leaders don’t lament. Leaders don’t scape-goat. They are leaders because they take responsibility for the entire spectrum of activities under their purview. They take the blame but share the glory.

  • If there’s a general project at your workplace requiring volunteer efforts from employees, be among the few people to first show interest. Learn to show up when it matters.
  • If your employer is in trouble, be among the first to show interest, and contribute ideas on how to how to get him/her out of the quagmire. Show up, when you’re most needed.
  • The interesting bit about life is, if everyone is unwilling to fix a problem; no one will. And everybody will ultimately pay dearly for it.
  • When organizations have departmental or team leadership roles to urgently fill, employees that are visible at problem-solving sessions have better chances of being considered first. Show up, when it matters.
  • In staff meetings, seminars, conferences, don’t be shy to stand up and share your viewpoints on a matter in discourse. Show up when it matters.
  • Showing up to help fix problems (even if unsolicited) doesn’t necessarily amount to desperation. Oh I understand your concerns. “Won’t they say I’m an overzealous attention-seeker? Won’t they say I’m over-reaching my boundaries?”

And I dare ask, who cares?

I do think you should be worried only if you help people purely for public attention, validation or admiration. Clarity of purpose is key. The purpose of life, they say, is a life of purpose. Sincerity of purpose beats all pre-conceived notions of ill-will. Just be sincere. What people say doesn’t matter.

  • When you try to be hard working, do so because of the bigger future ahead of you, not for people’s validation or CEO’s praise. I’m saying this lest you get disappointed.

It doesn’t matter if your effort is appreciated. Exploring the best of your potentials in service to others is not a weakness. It is not a stupid move. No, you’re preparing for the future. When that future comes, your past ‘un-rewarded’ hardwork and sweat will pay off.

Take tomorrow. See the bigger picture.

  1. Now talking of leadership, I must clear your doubts on this. Leadership is not defined by age. You can be Departmental Head, CFO, CMD, Chief Engineer, CTO, COO at an age less than 30. If you have a leadership opportunity, take it.
  2. If you have opportunity to lead a team or lead the entire firm or opportunity to do what no one has ever done before, take it.
  3. Self-doubt is a killer of dreams. Junk that inner voice that says “you can’t do it. You’re too young for this. You must be 40 before you can do it”. Shut that voice down!
  4. Don’t be discouraged, cocooned or marooned by your young age or short work experience. Don’t be desperate either. Be open to learning. And be patient.

Mental maturity is key. Deep technical competence is a must. Emotional intelligence is important. Right attitude to work beats all.

These skills are developed through deliberate efforts, hardwork, consistent and intentional learning, and not age.

Take tomorrow.

Show up and be counted, when it matters.

Take the lead.

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