I’m in Iceland as I am writing this, so naturally, adventure is on my mind. Anyone who has visited Iceland will tell you it’s unlike any trip they’ve ever taken. One day you are in the middle of a lush, green field leading to a massive waterfall, the next day traveling between snow-capped mountains, while the next day you’re making 3-mile hikes to touch glaciers. Spectacular.
Throughout my leadership career, being adventuresome has been a consistent trait of mine even if I haven’t known it. It has benefited me greatly, as I suggest it will you too, considering the ever-changing landscape of the modern work-world. Because it is my nature to do so, I have written five leadership traits discovered during this adventure below. Here goes:
Know The Personality Types of Your Team. On my trip, I am traveling with my hubs and one other couple, and the truth is we are all A-personality types. We decided early on that at any given time, we need to assign one Chief and 3 Indians. When we have defaulted to all trying to lead an expedition, it has been a hot mess. Do the same with your team.
Know The Strengths Of Your Team. Even though my travel groups’ natural DNA is dominant A-Personality types, we still have individual strengths we bring to our adventure. One person in our party is terrific with details. Another is incredible with pre-planning. Another can meditate calmly. And I am the one who says, “Hey, let’s not overthink and just try this road less traveled.” The mix has worked – and we’ve been together for eight days with three more to go. That is a miracle.
Create Shared Experiences With Your Teammates. Traveling with others can be a challenge – however, in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons. Why? Because all are participating in a shared experience. When teams create shared experiences, you build. Trust is the foundation of all successful teams. If you trust others, you know you can share your opinion, even if unpopular. Instead of thinking you are a jerk, your team will know you are trying to contribute without offense.
Venture Out And Learn the “Languages” Of Other Departments. Most tourists from other nations can speak several languages, including English. On this trip, there were times I wish I could return the favor and speak their language. In the work world, venture out of your cube and learn the “languages” of other departments, especially if you are a recruiter. Make a focused effort to learn about software team scrums, SEO optimization in your marketing department, or how a profit and loss statement works in your finance department. This practice shows you care about other’s work and again builds trust.
Put Your Work Down And Listen To Others. Iceland is the most beautiful country I have been in. So much so, I have wanted to capture every moment so I can share the experience with others. However, I do know I’ve missed incredible, viscerally beautiful, zen-moments by not putting the camera down and just soaking in the experience. Great leaders know when it is time to lead and time to listen. To lead, you must know when to shut up and focus on the person in front of you.
Adventures are wonderful. If you chose to go down a leadership path, try to make adventuresome-traits a part of your practice. Modeling these traits will get you better results. Enjoying the leadership adventure will enhance your career experience.
Dawn Burke, Sr. Consultant for Recruiting Toolbox and founder/advisor for Dawn Burke HR, is an HR leader, speaker, and writer specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture. Her HR/recruiting/leadership career has spanned the last 20 years, with past gigs including a foundational role as VP of People for Birmingham, AL’s award-winning technology company, Daxko (And yes, Kris Dunn and Dawn are making Bham the HR capital of the world! Who knew?). You can also check her out at DawnHBurke.com and a variety of other interesting places. Google her, it’ll keep you posted on what she is up to.
Most importantly: She is addicted to TV, knows most of the lyrics to Hamilton and West Side Story, loves to cry at movies (check out Cinema Paradiso for a cry fest!), thinks wine, a wheel of Brie and Milk Duds make a well-balanced dinner, and sings in her car daily. Her husband and cat are the Yin to her Yang.