“Leaders are visible at times of crisis, invisible at times of success.” -Mohana Janam
After stumbling across this quote recently…began to think of how accurately that describes the truly great and authentic leaders that I have encountered in my life. And yet, I couldn’t help but think how often the reverse of these words rings true. How flipping this statement can so often be an accurate reflection of some leaders in our organizations…
Leaders are invisible at times of crisis, and visible at times of success.
When we think of great leaders…words like honest, vision, commitment, intuition, communication, creative, humble…are just a few that instantly spring to mind. All of which, vastly matter to the success and effectiveness of any leader.
And yet, the two words that I find more often than not, to be immensely important to the success of a leader…are often forgotten or missing from the list.
Access and visibility.
Over recent years we have seen an onslaught of “reality” shows that have overrun our airwaves and television schedules. And for the variety of subjects that these shows provide and keep providing…one that caught my attention was the never-ending search and quest to locate Bigfoot. A show that brings together a team of researchers, who each week travel to various locations to investigate…sightings, testimonials, video clips and other evidence that will lead to the discovery of a Bigfoot, a Sasquatch.
Unfortunately for the researchers, each week seems to bring about the same ending…many possibilities, but no real sightings…no definitive evidence that eventually leads to the discovery of a Sasquatch. And the search continues.
And much like the ever-elusive Sasquatch…many leaders are frustratingly invisible within their organizations. In similar fashion to the show, any so-called leadership sightings are discussed and relayed across the organization at length…but for many within, it is like the ongoing search for the Sasquatch. The leader remains elusive and the search continues.
Leaders who lack access and visibility create frustration…for the organization and those they lead. And even beyond frustration…leadership disappearing acts fail to convey and create a safe and trusting environment within the organization.
While vision, communication and commitment and a variety of other characteristics are vital to the success and effectiveness of every leader…each of those are minimized when a leader fails to provide access and visibility to their leadership.
While each week the search for Sasquatch continues…it becomes more and more frustrating as the story never changes.
It is much the same for leaders who remain ever-elusive. The longer the disappearing act goes on…the more frustrated people become and the more the organization suffers.
Great leaders understand the importance of access and visibility…and avoid the pitfalls and frustration created by Sasquatch Leadership.
This is a great bit, Pal — and I can tell you that as a classroom teacher, NOTHING matters more than access and visibility. When teachers see their leaders out in the halls — or when they know that they can get the time and attention of their leaders whenever it is needed — it builds a sense of togetherness and sends the message that the work teachers are doing matters.
On the other hand, when teachers never see their leaders, the message becomes, “I’m not interested in whatever the heck it is that you do behind those closed doors.”
It’s tough to work for someone who just isn’t interested.
Hope you’re well, by the way! It’s been awhile…
Excellent work David, as always. I love this concept. School leaders don’t have to be superhuman, they just need to be there and positively present.