[Photo credit: Michael Cardus]
The other week I facilitated a 2-day team building workshop. It was a live-in workshop held out of town, on a beach with limited network connection. It was an awesome location and an awesome group to work with. Upon reflection, I explicated five features, which I believe are unique and necessary for effective leadership.
You can’t learn to swim by reading a book.
Earlier this year, I had the good fortune of participating in a 3-day business workshop in Southern California. The guy who presented it, James Wedmore, did so with amazing flexibility. He presented us with a folder on day one and started with what we were all there for. As the needs of the group diversified over the next three days, he modified his content to suit. He was able to do this by listening - really listening - to what his audience was saying. Every single person left that workshop believing their needs were met.
When I was planning the team building workshop, I reflected on James’ workshop and other leadership programs I’ve been involved with. I decided I wanted to be like James and listen to what the group were really telling me. By listening, I attempted to mould the program around the needs of the group. I’ve added some of the feedback I asked for, to the comments section at the bottom of this post. Upon reflection, I also started defining some key features of leadership. Here are the five features that stood out above all others.
The 5 Things I Learned About Leadership from my Recent Team Building Workshop
- Everyone is a leader.
Everyone has the opportunity to be an exceptional leader from birth. You are born with the ability to lead. It could be your sporting team, your church group, your family, or as most commonly recognised, your workplace. You will be required to lead on some level, in some area of your life, during many times in your life. As your experiences grow, you develop the ability to lead.
- Leaders should be altruistic.
Simon Sinek said it best when he said, “Stand for people. Not a product or service or metric or number. Stand for real living, breathing people and we will change the world”. Come from a place of striving to serve people. Continually ask what you can do for others. The more you empower people, the greater the change you create for the world.
- Leaders must adapt FAST.
Problems are not problems, they are opportunities. When someone comes to you with a problem, don’t try to find an answer. Give them options and allow them to find what works best. There is very rarely one solution. Empower others to use their own experiences by playing around with different ideas. By allowing others to find solutions, you get a range of creative ideas and equip them with the skills for next time. Some of the best ideas and inventions came from completely unrelated problems.
- The best leadership training is doing.
You can learn all you like about the best way of leading but at the end of the day, the best learning occurs when you just have to do it. As James said, “You can’t learn to swim by reading a book”. Have a go and reflect. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t, modify, and have another go. Repeat this process, slightly refining and tweaking every time, based on what you learned each time.
- You’re not going to make massive change over night.
Massive change happens over time. The most sustainable change occurs when it’s achieved gradually. Aim to make slight improvements from each new project and situation. Don’t expect to change the world over night but with systematically consistent action, you can achieve massive change over weeks, months and years.
Everyone has the ability to be a leader and everyone will need to be a leader at some point in their life. Life provides many opportunities for developing leadership and times will come when you need to step up, whether you want to or not. When it’s your turn to step up, aim to serve others by doing what you can to make them better people.
What’s your number one leadership lesson?
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