Years ago I participated in a 360-degree assessment. Peers, colleagues, management and direct reports all had the opportunity to anonymously tell me how I was doing. And based on their responses, I was doing pretty well. But there were a few comments that I didn’t expect and one in particular that stopped me in my tracks. “Glenn needs to be more available and out and about. We need to see more of him.” Hmmmmm. I thought I was out and about. But the more I thought about it, I realized I did spend a lot of time in my office. And I did blow off a lot of meetings, too. Actually, some days I didn’t even check up on my staff.
Woody Allen said that 90% of life is just showing up. So from that moment on, I began showing up everywhere—meetings, company events, town halls, luncheons and more meetings. If I wasn’t invited, I would invite myself. I was like the mayor—shaking hands and kissing babies. And spreading the word, too. About my department, my team and our capabilities. Colleagues began to recognize not only me but the work that my department was producing, and it put us on the map, big time. In fact, we became a well-valued company resource supporting all of our divisions in various capacities—eventually a center of excellence.
So get out of your office, cube, workstation or whatever, and remember to come up for air every so often. This applies to everyone. Even if you’re not managing a department, you’re still an ambassador and have plenty of opportunities to meet, greet and press the flesh. Those relationships are what it’s all about. Be available, approachable and accommodating—just show up!
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