• Gregory Z. Smith


Updated: Jul 30, 2019

Leadership - Being Present

One of the compliments I hear regularly from people is that they see me "everywhere." Of course, I am very conscious of the times I have to miss something, but I have heard from veterans, business owners and members of all three chambers of commerce, District 2 constituents, and people across our community. They regularly say things like, "We can count on you to show up, Greg."

I appreciate their noticing, and they appreciate that I care about so many facets of our community.

Starting with our Council meetings and work session, I have treated them as something of a sacred obligation. The whole time I've been on the Council I believe I've only missed two without calling in. On seven occasions over the almost eight years I've been on the Council, I've called in: five of those because I was out of town on Council business; twice because I was at family reunions.

At those meetings, I rarely bring a phone or other device that might distract. We are doing the people's business: we need to be paying attention, focusing, thinking carefully. Studies have shown that some people are better at multi-tasking than others, but they also show that even the best multi-taskers loose some of their focus when multi-tasking. I prefer to do as much research as possible prior to our meetings so that I can give each speaker the respect she or he deserves and each presentation the attention it deserves.

I try to treat other meetings that same way, but I will confess to having to bring a phone or other device to some of those meetings to avoid printing so many agendas and notes and to connect to those with answers when questions come up. However, I am very aware of how that impacts my attention as opposed to when I am at Council meetings and work sessions without those devices.

Ribbon cuttings and celebrations sound like they may not be so serious, but I regularly learn something I didn't know, network with people who can help with inquiries and projects, and establish stronger relationships with people in our community. It also helps that the people celebrating milestones know that we care about what is happening in our community.

Most of the time, I prefer to simply do what I do, rather than talk about what I do. Still, this is a campaign, and people who are not always at our meetings or other events need to know how I approach the leadership role I have been honored to hold.

I lead by being present, by listening, by being engaged, and by being responsive.

We each have a different story to tell.

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