Day 3: On the recipe for good leadership

Today's training didn't involve listening to former South American Ministers, nor comparing region-wide data on growth, nor even reading on the psychological traits of those who are most known for their leadership skills. In fact, we learned about leadership by skipping ropes, levitating on our partners' arms, and roleplaying in the world's most unlikely hypothetical scenarios. And this was possible because 'leadership' entails an infinite list of possible attributes that were the central topic in tonight's reflections.

And that's why we can share our recipe for leadership, featuring ingredients carefully pondered by each of us:


Felipe: Identification

Ana Flavia: Passion

Annick: Motivating

Luiza: Listening

Carina: Relating

Karen: Fun

Kristell: Knowing your team

Mariel: Nurturing

Pedro: Respect

Carlos: Willingness

Even though 'listening' may sound like a nice but somewhat unimportant term, it can have very tangible (and positive) consequences. Knowledge of a leader's team comes only when each member's voice is listened to. Moreover, team members always add value to discussions on problem-solving when they are given a chance to speak up. Also, it is by listening that leaders yield some of their control, and represent their people in a more democratic way. Because of all this, leaders must go beyond passive listening, and actually encourage everyone to share their ideas.

Another overused but important idea: learning from one's mistakes. Leaders must learn to use their mistakes to their own advantage. The mistakes themselves, the leader's reaction to failure or maybe the group's profile in moments of failure can be powerful weapons in producing stronger leadership skills. Admitting errors, besides its moral connotations, is a way of improving the results and motivating people.

And the last idea for tonight: trust. To reach shared goals, people must be able to understand the importance of each individual in the whole - the leader has to trust the rest of the team, just as the team has to trust the leader. 

We'll be back tomorrow with lessons from official meetings, social science lectures, and maybe even from a couple of karaoke rounds. Stay tuned.