Kennebec Valley Chamber

Serving the Kennebec Valley, Maine Region

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Friday Report ~ September 18, 2015

Waiting in the wings ~As I mentioned several weeks ago, I spent time recently at the opening retreat for this year’s Leadership Maine class. This was a simply amazing experience. It involved seminars on leadership, challenging group and individual exercises and in depth discussions as a class. Our class has leaders from all over the state and every industry. In addition to the discussions and challenges, we also participated in the “Strengths Finder Assessment” to determine how to capitalize on what we are good at.

I am sure you can imagine the dynamics of putting 40 statewide leaders together with a wide variety of leadership styles and personality types. While I was envisioning 40 type A personalities with a substantial amount of ego and OCD, I was surprised to see a much more diverse group in attendance. What I found most encouraging was the fact that regardless of their “Leadership Style” or “Strength Definition”, there was not a single person there who was not absolutely driven to make Maine a better place to live.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the individual challenges (a ropes course and morning activities) the group challenges were the most fun. In these, each group of 10 people or so was given a challenge and had to figure out how to complete it in the best manner while meeting all the goals of the challenge. Our group quickly rose to the challenges and, as expected in events like this, the more dominant leaders immediately took control and steered the group towards the goal. It was in the middle of our third exercise when the facilitators took the folks who had been taking the leadership roles and put them in blindfolds. This forced others to step up and begin to show their own styles and strengths.

Our group was clearly the best (not bragging, just stating a fact J ) but it was great to see how well we worked as a team when the alternative leadership styles were in play and the group was being directed by the new leaders. This got me thinking about how a business runs. As we all know, it takes a really driven individual to run a business regardless of its size. What happens, however, when there is a turnover? Is the staff ready to handle a different style of leadership? I also wondered, what kind of leadership skills are in your business that you are not cultivating?

So take some time this coming week to look at the quiet leaders in your organization. Are you supporting your department managers? Are you helping your VP or Assistant Manager spread their wings and get some leadership experience? If you work with them now, and tutor them on what has worked well for you, you will find it much easier to hand the reigns over and relax while you are away from the office. Give them the tools and confidence they need to help make your business a success.