Being a team building facilitator one of my most sought-after program requests is for "Leadership Development." As we know, we can run some amazing experiential leadership programs with a wide variety of team building activities and we can connect almost any leadership theory to the process and outcomes our groups encounter.
I just finished reading, The Courageous Leader (2017) by Angela Sebaly. (Angela, among other endeavors, is one of the owners - with Michelle Cummings - of Personify Leadership. A company that helps leaders reach their full potential.)
I've read a great deal of leadership theory over the past 20 years, moving along with the ebb and flow of ideas weaving them into my team building programs. What I really like about Angela's perspective on leadership is the aspect of courage and how it relates to leadership development. And, I love the parallels (I can see) between being a courageous leader and being a courageous (team building) facilitator. Here are some of the ideas from early on in the book that speak to both the leader and facilitator:
You will fail. You will fall down and scrape your knees, break a bone, and maybe even end up in a body case (metaphorically speaking, of course). There will be pain. Courage is the willingness to do something in the face of fear, discomfort, and pain. As a result, courage is what separates those of us who want something from those of us who achieve it. (xv)
As human beings, we are meaning-making machines. We do not leave the situation [we are in and experiencing] as data. Instead we add meaning, which creates emotion. The emotion we choose [or comes up for us] is based on the meaning we give the situation. Or, said differently, the meaning we give to a situation creates the emotion we feel. (p. 11)
Another honest realization that Angela tells us is that being a courageous leader [and I will add team building facilitation] involves pain. Most people will wince at this honest expectation of leadership [and facilitation] development.
The Courageous Leader is about being courageous in tough times. So, what are tough times, and what exactly is courage?
The fear of that pain is what stalls most leaders [and facilitators]. (p. 5)
Each of the main chapters in The Courageous Leader is filled with stories and lessons from Angela's personal experiences as a leader and from the leaders she's worked with and interviewed. The chapters also emphasize how courage, along with aspects of "pain" are vital for exponential growth and success. Here are the courageous chapters in the book:
If you deliver leadership development programs or you have the opportunity to develop leaders within your company or program, I recommend The Courageous Leader. It's a smooth engaging read with great take-aways. Not only for the leader in you and others, but for team building facilitators and their awareness of how they can present themselves to their groups. (Another Question: Are team building facilitators leaders?)
Listen to Angela (in this two-minute video interview) tell us about the "Big Temptation" - as leaders we are tempted to avoid pain, but in the long run, it often creates even more pain.
Reviews of The Courageous Leader Check out the Amazon sales page to read the rave reviews (found below the book details). Over 5000 copies have already been sold in just a few months.
Be courageous my friends! And, keep me posted.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
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This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.
Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.