There's a lot of talk these days about being present. Present in the moment, not being distracted, fully invested in what’s going on in each conversation…
However, with leadership comes an even more fundamental idea: Being present physically.
As a leader of people at any level, we need to be around our people as much as possible. This may sound old fashioned, but without physical presence it’s impossible to do some of the most basic tasks of leadership.
With today's focus on mobility, remote work, and flexible work schedules, this issue has become more challenging. While technology has made our lives easier, too much physical distance from our people can limit our effectiveness as leaders.
Our physical presence is important. The presence of a leader creates a sense of protection, it allows for accessibility, and it improves awareness of issues and challenges. For instance, facial expressions and other non-verbals simply cannot be discovered or addressed when not observed in person.
Shepherd Style Leadership Revisited
Shepherd leadership calls for us to be omni-dimensional. It asks us to be strategic, caring, protective, and tough. There is one thing that all of those things have in common: physical presence with the flock.
Imagine a shepherd spending all of his time in his tent, or miles away from the flock. What happens when conflict arises in the flock? What if a sheep wanders off alone and gets into danger? What if a predator enters the pasture? None of those things can be addressed without the physical presence of the shepherd.
As leaders, we need to be present. We need to be visible, available, accessible, and ready to do the things of leadership when needed.