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Leadership lessons learnt whilst sitting in a boat

Have you ever achieved a dream that you'd never thought possible? In 2009, I competed at the National Championships for Dragon Boat racing – a sport that I'd only taken up in mid 2008. It was something that I'd never thought possible.

I took away some valuable lessons from this experience which can also be applied to our working lives:

1. Never say never

If anyone had suggested to me 12 months earlier that I'd be a State representative I would have laughed. Yet with encouragement and determination I was on the State team and I had a great time too.

What is it that you and/or your team could achieve when the opportunity arises? Opportunity or not … how can you make your dream happen?

2. Communication is everything

To have 22 people make a boat move in a race there needs to be clear communication. Everyone has a role in the boat and so knowing our roles enabled everyone to contribute to the team's goals.

Clear communication in a work environment is essential if everyone is to work toward the same goals.

3. Encouragement goes a long way

Working toward the National Championships meant a commitment to the training. There were times when I questioned my ability. Yet just as I doubted myself there'd be someone who'd provide me with words of encouragement.

What is the commitment level in your team?

How can you encourage your team members to improve their performance?

4. Leadership is essential

There were over 300 members of the NSW squad covering all divisions. The Head Coach had a vision for the team and expressed his vision in a clear manner. The Assistant Coaches also expressed the same vision … there was unity in thought as to how the goals were to be achieved.

Their leadership and encouragement ensured that every member was motivated to achieve the best that they possibly could.

Leaders who can express themselves clearly will inspire and motivate their team members.

5. Teamwork can achieve amazing results

By the time the championships arrived we were all working together as a team and focused on our goals. It was inspiring to witness the camaraderie that had developed.

Overall, NSW won the National Championships. It was an unforgettable experience!

For any team, if people enjoy their work and have a common goal to work toward amazing results can be achieved!

Do you have a high-performing team?


Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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