A leader is best when people barely know he exists,
when his work is done,
his aim fulfilled,
they will say: "We did it ourselves".
Lao Tsu, Chinese Philosopher, (4th Century BCE)
For the past 25 years I have worked in a corporate environment, but I received the foundation of my professional leadership training while driving hippie tour busses around America. The continual stream of new people, locations, and situations forced me to identify the 'working principles' that governed the effective management of groups of people. For each new understanding there was a particular trip or interaction where that lesson was highlighted.
I rode a bus to get myself someplace new, not to learn about leadership. In the end I got both.
When a group of strangers is thrown together in a foreign environment, a well-chosen team-building exercise can quickly build trust through shared experience.
Everyone has things they'd rather be doing, but it may surprise you what those things are. Figuring out how to align individual desire and priority with team goals can bring surprising results.
Solving a problem together brings a team together. Successfully working through a small problem gives the team both the tools and the trust to take on bigger problems.
Understanding the predictable process by which new teams come together and mature can show you how and when you can make the greatest positive impact.
Making decisions in a crisis is difficult, but learning how to pull your mind out of "crisis mode" to make those decisions will dramatically improve your effectiveness.
During a personal confrontation the experience, goals, and perceptions of each player will act as either a moat or a bridge. Finding the bridges is the key to helping others find common ground.
Communication is about much more than talking. If you want to actually be understood, then it is up to you to find the right way to connect your meaning to your audience.
When in a foreign environment, it is the extent to which you demonstrate your effort to adapt yourself to the local customs on which you will be judged not on your mastery of them.
We must all deal with those that have the power to block our progress. Learning how to effectively work with these people, rather than fight them, is the key to maintaining momentum.
In building something new, it is most often the intangible elements of clear vision and willing enrollment that bring success. When provided with these, people will improvise the rest.
For every leader there is a moment when you realize that you have the power to positively impact the experience of others should you choose to use it.