The Ultimate Adventure: Leadership. I wasn’t always adventurous. In fact, as a child, I was painfully shy and extremely sensitive. I avoided anything “unsafe” and didn’t like to venture out on my own.
My how things have changed! When I’m not jumping into cenotes in Mexico, climbing glaciers in Iceland, or diving out of planes in Hawaii, you might find me hiking mountains in beautiful UT, road tripping through Europe, riding elephants in Bali, camels in Morocco or snorkelling in Samoa.
I live for adventure! It’s one of my core qualities. To me, a life without adventure isn’t worth living.
Why? I feel most alive when I am out exploring and learning about nature, beauty, people, food, and cultures of the world. If I’m living, I should feel alive, right?
How do you take this sense of adventure, of living, and invite it into leadership? Does it have a place in leadership?
I firmly believe that adventure is one of the core components of leadership. It may not look like a myriad of “adventures” that come to mind (see list above), but it does evoke a sense of fun and excitement. It pulls us from mundane droll of the day-to-day and into a sense of wonder and what could be. Adventure in leadership gives us purpose, and there is no more significant motivator.
The Ultimate Adventure: Leadership – The best leaders are adventurers.
Why? Because if we are leading and leading well, don’t we want to do so from a soul lit and alive place? Don’t we wish to do so with purpose?
When thinking of an adventure, there is usually an element of risk involved. Yet, the overwhelming feeling it incites is that of fun and excitement. It means moving out into the unknown to discover new things – exploring and enjoying the journey with your fellow adventurers.
Adventure isn’t exclusive to life outside of work. Adventure is a crucial component of leadership.
How can leaders incorporate adventure into their leadership with a positive and thrilling outcome? By focusing on three main things:
1 – Take Calculated Chances
Adventure is defined as an exciting or unusual experience. Leaders who can venture into uncharted territory with excitement and take a chance on something new are the leaders who are looked up to. They are revolutionary. By no means should you be reckless, but you must learn how to take chances.
“Leaders are anticipatory thinkers. They consider all consequences of their behaviours before they act.”Brian Tracy
Enlisting both intellect and emotion, leaders thoroughly consider the consequences of behaviours and actions. They are connected to their heart and can feel the right decision for them and those they lead. This often means taking chances but never harmful risks.
With trust as the foundation of leadership, we must never put those we lead at risk. That will immediately diminish trust, and we will no longer have a following to lead. Being wise in our adventurous leadership is necessary for a successful, fun, and positive outcome.
2 – Approach with Fun and Enjoyment
A leader who approaches new challenges with fun and enjoyment will encourage others to trust themselves, opening up remarkable experiences that wouldn’t be available without adventure and uncertainty. Positively framing the experience is essential to leading well. The fun and excited energy around this type of leader are contagious and impactful. Ultimately, this is vision.
When we can shift the focus from that of fear and uncertainty to that of enjoyment, we shift the energy. Once energy changes, fear dissipates, confidence increases, and motivation takes over, leading to a successful and enjoyable outcome.
3 – Rally the Troops
Not all tasks are viewed as an adventure. Quite often, they appear to be daunting, challenging, and impossible. As a leader, you must learn to rally the troops, metaphorically.
When approaching tasks, a leader will find ways to coax or persuade those they lead to jumping on board. A leader may need to honestly explain the ride ahead, the potential highs and lows, and the anticipated outcome. Framing this in a positive, adventurous light will engage the team in eagerly accepting the adventure ahead.
Additionally, engaging those you lead by allowing creativity, flexibility, and ownership of the task at hand will result in a positive outcome.
Leaders lead. They rally. They excite. They do so by directly sharing how they need each person to perform, and then model that performance themselves. This can all be anchored down by focusing on the future.
Sharing anticipation of what is to come confirms trust and transparency.
Regardless of the leadership style you relate to – whether one who tends to “play it safe” or one who “jumps right in,” consider the benefits of leading with adventure. The Ultimate Adventure is leadership.
If adventure ignites the soul to feel alive, then adventure in leadership is the way we keep ourselves and our team flourishing in an often stressful environment. Adventure in leadership is what ties our work to something more than work. It unifies the team and relates it to fun and excitement; to a purpose. And purpose is what makes all things palatable and possible.
It turns work into an adventure; something we can all use a little more of in our lives!