Friday, July 9, 2021

2005 - Leadership and Learning

Megan with Stanley (A future BLOG story - Megan's the human)

(Fifty Nifty Years in the United States Series)
I always want to be there when she learns new things. One of the most delightful people I have had the opportunity to know and work with. It is clear the she is and always will be a lifelong learner. And that contagious learning makes me smile to this day.

I have always considered myself a life-long learner and to this day, I know that as I get older, I realize the less I know. Megan came aboard our lives at the Camp in Florida. She was an intern that I am sure I had work on multiple projects including our new grant funded after school program and our accreditation with the American Camp Association.

Our conversations always gave me a “pick me up” when it came to learning leadership. I felt I always walked away with more than I left. It was her exuberance to learn and grow that is one of her most compelling traits. I cannot recall a single conversation that she wasn’t sharing something other than what she had just learned about herself, a class or a life lesson.

Several years later she recounted a time where she wanted to buy radios for camp for us to have better communication. I challenged back that we needed to have better communication with our team to even consider using radios. She called it a “lesson in communication.” Truth be known, I thought of it as a, “oh my gosh we can’t afford radios at this moment.”

And by the way, she led the way and improved how we all communicated as a team.
Support Staff (aka Directing Team) circa 2005

At that time, I had been utilizing the MyersBriggs personality assessment to determine how best to place co-leaders in a cabin. (Click the link above to take a free test and comment your type)

I had originally had a less complicated system by determining how to do so by watching leaders interact during our staff orientation week and then having a late night gathering with support staff (what I called my directing team) and arguing sometimes for hours about who would best fit with whom. We seldom had 50-50 odds that it would work out.

After I began using Myers Briggs, our odds shot up to 80% success rate. There are some MB personalities that work amazing together and some personality types that you do not ever, ever place together. I also began using the Myers Briggs assessment to determine how best to predict how our support staff team would work and communicate.

Knowing their types, I employed an evening of playing Castle Risk (a variation of the Hasbro/Parker Brothers RISK) with the support staff team. Megan, as I recall did not enjoy the experience. Matt Sheah reminded me that it wasn’t so much that she disliked the experience; it was more a hesitancy to “thin out” our teammates in the game. She did not want to go against the team. The end result of an evening of play, was that it would magnify the leadership communication styles for each person. It was a great predictor of how communication would occur.

As a lifelong learner, Megan demonstrated and continues to do so, a purpose driven life. She approaches everything in that manner and it allows her enthusiasm to be contagious and for those who are learning along with her, to reach a higher degree of success.

Matt and Megan helped redesign out Leader-In-Training program into the three year arc that I have used at multiple camps with a greater degree of skills based learning. I long have maintained that camping is in the child development (leader development) business. I took that program to two subsequent camps and ultimately designed a leadership training week. At one point in time, 100% of our new junior leadership staff, came from that program. Growing our own leadership.

John Maxwell says that his 3rd Law of Leadership is all about Process. "Leadership is learned over time. Leaders are always learners."

Having someone who enjoys learning and applies that enjoyment to helping others learn is Megan’s gift to me. I am so grateful for her and for sharing that with me as I have traveled 50 plus years in these United States. I am thrilled to continue having her (and her husband Brian from a previous BLOG) be a part of our lives. Together they continue to serve in different leadership capacities and I love to hear from them and their amazing family

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