My last Leadership class was on Wednesday, and the focus of this class was Recreation. We visited a number of parks and recreational facilities, as well as our local Water and Sewer Authority, and Wallace Dam, which separates Lake Oconee from Lake Sinclair. Although the cold, cloudy day – and the forecast of rain – drove us indoors for part of the day, we still managed to get outside for many of our planned activities.

For one of them, we were divided into two teams, and one person from each team was blindfolded and sent out to retrieve an item, based on directions given by someone whose back was turned and who could not see the person they were giving directions to. Their instructions depended on input from the rest of the team, who could see both of the others, but were not allowed to speak. They could communicate only through body language and gestures.

The activity was an exercise in communication and teamwork, not to mention ingenuity. But as one of the blindfolded participants, I quickly realized the importance of trust. Stepping out in faith – literally – meant trusting my team enough to walk quickly and confidently without fear of bumping into a tree or tripping over a rock along the way.

In another activity, we had to decide, as a group, which of 15 items we would take with us in a life raft – and in what order we would select them – if we were on a cruise ship that was sinking. Shark repellant, rope, and a radio were among the items. So was chocolate, my personal favorite. Our focus was on survival, and after some discussion, we agreed on the items and the order. It turned out, however, that according to official Coast Guard recommendations, our focus should have been on being rescued. As such, our class score put us in the category of “Surviving, but just barely.” Still, we came up with our list without any altercations or disagreements that resulted in someone getting thrown overboard, so that spoke in our favor.

This last class was my favorite one, but all of them have given me so much more than lessons in leadership. They taught me about the community I live in. They introduced me to some amazing and talented people. And they opened my eyes to work and activities that go on behind the scenes, as well as out front on center stage.

I learned that leadership is as much about listening as it is about leading. That the strongest leaders possess both courage and compassion. And that trust and teamwork are essential qualities for getting things done.

Whether you’re leading, following, or just going along for the ride, these are lessons that can help us all – personally, professionally, and in any area of our lives.

March 13, 2022
©Betty Liedtke, 2022

I welcome your comments, but please be aware that all comments will be moderated and approved before appearing on this blog. This is to protect all of us from unwanted spam.