Thursday's Thoughts on Leadership: Why Does Being A Visible Leader Matter?

Leaders need to be seen and heard. Most people take their cues from leaders. That is why it is important for leaders to be out and about all the time. Leaders must attend meetings with vendors, and business partners. They attend office meetings and social functions. They make presentations at the local, state and regional levels. They do this because the best leaders have taken the time to gain knowledge of their company and its values, mission and objectives and they make this known to others through their interactions. Every day, the leader on the go is modeling professional behaviors, responses and attitudes as well as sharing the values, mission and objectives of the company. When a leader’s actions demonstrate that certain behaviors and attitudes are important, they will be important for everyone. John C. Maxwell writes in his book The 360-Degree Leader, “One of the greatest mistakes leaders make is spending too much time in their offices and not enough time out among the people. Leaders are often agenda driven, task focused, and action oriented because they like to get things done. They hole up in their offices, rush to meetings, and ignore everyone they pass in the halls along the way. What a mistake! First and foremost, leadership is a people business. If you forget the people, you’re undermining your leadership, and you run the risk of having it erode away. Then one day when you think you’re leading, you’ll turn around and discover that nobody is following and you’re only taking a walk.”

In fact, the word lead comes from the Old English word l?than, which means “to go.” It makes sense that a leader should be on the go. You can manage from behind a desk, but to truly lead you have to leave the comforts of the office.