I recently got back from a spiritual retreat and as with the aftereffects of good retreats, basking in its fruits of greater clarity of thought, renewed energy and that quiet confidence in knowing one’s next step. And while I sense a newness of approach to my work, I begin to think of how important it is for all of us to take that time off- more so in the corporate world where work pressure and deadlines can easily encroach upon every available minute! Not switch off, but take time off from regular, every day routine, tasks and chores to really spend time reflecting, discovering- like an artist, to take a step back and look at the canvas one is painting on, look at the palate one is using, look at those spots that don’t seem to fit in and say ‘what does this picture need?’
I believe Leadership Development Programs are fantastic opportunities to take that time off, to take a step back and let your intuition kick in, draw from your experience, challenge oneself with new perspectives and equip oneself in the leadership journey. Here are three ways to make the experience a rewarding one:
Discover– Use the opportunity to discover your unique strengths and skills, what is characteristically you, and reflect on how can you best leverage this in your current work context. Take out those profile reports from your last leadership program, read them once again; you’ll find new insight, new areas to leverage. Go on, do it and you may find aspects, words that strike a chord, ideas to leverage and put into practice today (here’s a link to a previous article on how to integrate your Belbin team role strengths at work- Create engaging KRAs leveraging one’s core strengths). Science tells us that experiencing awe can have transformative effects- man is said to be the masterpiece of all creation. What wonder lies within us. Shouldn’t we then take the time to discover, nurture the gifts and strengths we have and and more importantly ensure that we are leveraging them in new ways to build our teams and society.
Challenge- Challenge yourself with new perspectives. As Marshall Goldsmith has famously said ‘What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There’. Growing calls for letting go of the old and letting the new evolve. That’s not always easy, but therein lies strength and seed of resilience. Leadership Development programs provide the platform to be introduced to and familiarize oneself with new approaches. I believe the maximum learning can take place when an approach is not in alignment with what we are used to/ comfortable with. Such situations always present personal learning and with reflection, often present deeper insight into our selves and what we consider valuable.
Assimilate- Assimilate your new learnings that they take seed in your memory. It is so important to consolidate our personal insights and takeaways from a learning experience if one is to leverage them. I have found that especially during learning interventions, its always been best for me to consolidate and organise my learnings (ie write them down) before I get back to my familiar home/ work environment. The key is to consolidate one’s learnings before distractions from the workplace and home reach you. This allows for the action plan to be put in place before you hit the road again post your learning retreat. Fantastic to have the learnings/action plan put up at your workplace in an accessible place where it serves us a regular reminder/ check.
Leadership Development Programs with the inputs and environment to develop and enhance one’s strengths, truly are opportunities to take that much needed time off to take a step back and reflect on one’s ‘leadership canvas’. Harnessing these opportunities for personal growth will definitely go a long way in enhancing effectiveness. Wishing you an enriching experience the next time you take your ‘time off’!!
Check out the Belbin Team Leadership Discovery session to experience an opportunity that allows for Discovery, Challenging one’s perspective and structured Assimilation of learnings.