The Three A’s of Showing Up as a Leader

by | Jan 3, 2023 | Hummingbird Blog

During my conversation with Dr. Rosie Ward on her podcast, Show Up as a Leader, I talk about many different aspects of my leadership journey and how I approach my work as the CEO of Hummingbird Humanity. 

As I listened to the episode, there was a moment when I thought, “did I share too much? Was I too vulnerable and open about situations that didn’t portray me in the best light?“ So often, when we talk about leaders, we forget that regardless of title, experience, or education, they are, first and foremost, human. 

If I struggle with this after 25+ years of doing this work, I know there are other leaders who need to hear the stories I share in this episode and remind themselves that they don’t have to default to how they were conditioned to lead back in the day because the workplace has changed, and that’s a good thing. 

I was thinking it might be helpful to support the message by sharing the 3 A’s of Showing Up as a Leader in today’s society:

  • Authenticity has become an overused buzzword and the concept is something people often struggle with. I have come to understand that we can’t expect our people to work in a way that aligns with cultivating a human centered workplace culture if leaders don’t model the way. Leadership requires more than giving directives, establishing key performance indicators, and ensuring a return on investment. It requires that we show up daily, allow ourselves to be seen for who we are, and acknowledge we are imperfect humans trying to lead.

  • Amplification is a critical part of our mission at Hummingbird Humanity. Here’s what amplifying unheard voices requires– using your platform, power, and privilege to amplify the voice and the message of someone who is part of a community that is too often unheard. This commitment challenges you to take a step back and say: “my voice is often heard because (fill in the blank)…I need to make space for other voices and genuinely share my platform.” 

  •  Accountability requires a great deal of vulnerability because we have to be willing to admit when we made a mistake and hold ourselves accountable for dealing with the situation as a human centered leader. I wasn’t just a leader speaking on a podcast about why I do this work, but how I do this work. I was a human who dared to be authentic and share that being a leader also means that I will sometimes get it wrong. I’ll do my best to learn from each mistake and do better.

In the episode, I also share about a situation I had with a team member at Hummingbird and how my ego and some of the challenges I was dealing with as a human at the time impacted how I showed up and engaged with my colleague. 

It took me two therapy sessions, consulting with my leadership team, and some self-reflection for me to fully be able to apply the three A’s in this situation. Despite the pause, it was important to demonstrate that I was open to his feedback, could acknowledge my mistakes, and also hold myself accountable. I was grateful that he and I were able to share, to listen, to really communicate, and resolve the situation in a way that honored our shared humanity. 

This work is hard, but the impact is more significant when we allow ourselves to be seen as leaders who are simply humans trying to show up and act in ways that are both good for humanity and good for business. 

Brian McComak

Brian McComak

CEO / Founder

he / him / LGBTQ+

Brian McComak is the CEO & Founder of Hummingbird Humanity. He is a consultant, speaker, author, and facilitator with over 25 years of experience in DEI, HR, culture, change management, internal communications, and employee experience. 

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