5 positive leadership retreat affirmations

A few months ago I announced that we were going to go to Breckenridge together for a leadership retreat. We were going to sleep in bunk beds and get cozy and REALLY COMFORTABLE with each other. Thirty managers together for 3 days in a Villa in the mountains…. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Here is what I learned:

  1. Everyone came. This pleasantly surprised me, actually. In a team of 30 managers — EVERY SINGLE PERSON showed up. They drove in the snow up the mountain, they took time away from their newborn children, their families, and their other responsibilities. The fact that everyone “showed up” is I think the most important part and says the most about our team engagement. I love this part the most.
  2. Everyone came to “play”. Figuratively and Literally. We definitely “played”. Everyone showed up to the events and the meetings and came to be a part of the experience. If showing up is 80% of life, then “playing” once you get there is the other 20%.

3. Seeing people in their pajamas makes you like them more. It’s true — it brings a “humanistic” quality to them. Any built-up resentment you may have felt from a poorly worded email the week before kind of melts away when you have to say “Good Morning” in a robe with your hair in a messy bun.

4. You learn the details about each other. That person doesn’t like to stay up late. That person drinks coffee. That person likes yoga. That person drinks wine (we all do). That person doesn’t like the snow. That person really likes rap music. That person has a weird thing for “perms”….he he he. That person plays guitar. That person wakes up in the middle of the night and plays a Ukulele. They are the details of our relationships which make us stronger. There is more to a person than their 8–5 self — it is important we are all reminded of that.

5. We care about each other. We worry when someone on the team is upset. We stress if someone seems disengaged during a meeting. We ask about each other’s sick children or marital woes. We think about our dynamics and where we are weak and how to make it better. These are the people we spend the majority of our lives with day in and day out. Over time, our work lives and personal lives start to blend and our relationships become more integrated. It helps us all bring our “whole self” to work and our quality improves because of it.

I think the most important part of our retreat wasn’t the “action plan” items we developed to improve our company and our teams (we didn’t ONLY drink wine!). The most important part was remembering that we care about each other, that we like each other, and that we are all in this together.

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