Trust Your Team to be Good Leaders

By Tess Cruse,

zipline_drawingSo, who’s the boss? I had a hard time telling…

That was the start of an eye opening conversation I had with the owner of The McCarthy Project, Stephen McCarthy.  Our team recently spent the day with Stephen at his rock climbing and ziplining team building retreat in Annandale that is designed to explore and enhance any team’s leadership skills.  An outdoor environment with no technology – a little painful for our tech reliant team.

Stephen failed many, many times in his career, then got back on the horse and tried again. His career advice in any endeavor was not to sprint through it, but to take the time to do it right.  That’s the secret, he says, to longevity and staying power in your industry.

All of Stephen’s life experiences led him to develop this current venture, The McCarthy Project.  Upon arrival it’s a further 5 minute walk out to the course.  Suddenly the trees clear and there it is, a 50 foot tall structure with absolutely no ladder.  There are four ways up this thing, none of which are easy, and you must somehow reach the top to get the payoff of ziplining back down.

You can climb the flat wall, the incline wall, the cargo net, or go up something named ‘Donkey Kong’.  Either way, not easily done without the help of a good team.  Right off the bat two of us volunteer to climb the rock wall, a few others jump up to belay, and the rest of us cheer them on and help guide their steps.

Stephen mentioned that earlier in the day he had a group who always looked to their boss who directed them at every turn.  But what happens when the leader is out sick? On a phone call? On vacation?  All you have is an entire group of helpless people floundering without the ear of their leader.  Productivity tanks, and each team member feels useless.  So you can imagine what a compliment it was to our DIVI Team that he couldn’t immediately tell who the boss was.

Picture yourself half way up this monstrosity, dangling at least 30 feet in the air and the hardest part still ahead of you.  At that point fear sets in, and you have no choice but to climb even higher to achieve the goal. Getting off this thing is not an option.  Can do it on your own? No one can. You need someone below on belay, another at the top to help you over.  You have to communicate what you need, share your shortcomings and frustrations, and ask for help to meet your goal.  For the complete article, visit DIVI blog.