One of the first things Americans hear on the TV or radio news each day is where the president will be and what he will be doing. In England, you can tell when the queen is staying in her castle if her flag is flying over it. People like to know where their leaders are, and that information is readily available to the public. In an era of video conferencing and satellite feeds, leaders can be seen and heard anywhere at anytime in the virtual world. Nonetheless, the presence of a leader on TV is sometimes not good enough. There are times when it is crucial for leaders to physically be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right sort of thing. This is especialy the case when there is a disaster or crisis. Leaders who fail to understand the importance of "being there" in a crisis usually face public condemnation. When something bad happens, people want to know where their leaders are and what they are doing. This is about more than symbolic gestures or a sense of timing. Leaders have a moral obligation to be there for us because it is their job and it is part of what the job of leaders means to followers. This chapter examines how place and time are embedded in what it means to be a leader and the moral expectations of leadership.
Copyright (c) 2008 Praeger. This book chapter first appeared in Leadership at the Crossroads 3.
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Ciulla, Joanne B. "Why 'Being There' Is Essential to Leadership.” In Leadership at the Crossroads 3, edited by Joanne B. Ciulla,132-147. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008.