In some group work I am currently involved with, I am facilitating a session of business leaders who are from all around the world, therefore multi-cultural and quite high achievers. One of the things we do at the beginning is called The Leadership Journey, which involves sharing the experiences and the people who have essentially shaped the person and type of leader they have become. This has proven to be an extremely effective means of team bonding, for the following reasons.
- Past experiences can shape future decisions. So perhaps the more you know about somebody’s past, the better you might understand the position they take or decision made, and how you might possibly influence it.
- Sharing is caring and vice versa – when demonstrating interest in people’s backgrounds and what matters to them, connections become stronger that can create a sense of genuine collegiality.
- Vulnerability builds trust – when everybody shares their past in an honest, open way, you see each other for who they truly are; this creates a unique and trusting bond.
- Happiness leads to effectiveness – when people enjoy their work and the people they work with in an authentic way, there is a genuine sense of collaboration and happiness, that are enablers of success.
Interestingly, in most work situations, we never really take the time to understand who the person is; it’s perhaps regarded as none of our business, or might be seen as prying into their personal lives. In reality, personal and professional are not mutually exclusive. Whether you like it or not, you bring your work stuff home with you, and your home baggage goes to work with you. So why not simply embrace and understand it, and be open to the possibility that it might in fact create a very supportive work environment, that facilitates much higher levels of engagement and productivity? If that is the case, you might also be a lot happier going home and so the cycle becomes much more positive.