Leadership Lessons While Learning to SUP

Stand Up Paddleboarding & Leadership | Dr. Will Ramey

Stand Up Paddleboarding & Leadership | Dr. Will Ramey 800 600 OnTheStacks

Leadership Lessons While Learning to SUP

Reasearch Backed Approaches to Leadership and Team Dynamics with Dr. Will Ramey, The Leadership Dr. 

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Leadership Lessons from the Lake

I’m shifting gears a little this week to share something more personal. I’ve recently taken up stand up paddleboarding. I wanted a way to get out on the water and soak up some vitamin D. Honestly, I’ve been searching for ways to stay mentally healthy and aligned. Getting outdoors and surrounding myself with as many elements of mother nature as possible has helped me align, gain clarity, and increase my ability to be present with my family, my team, and myself. While out on the water I find time to let my mind go where it needs to go. Often times leaders don’t make time to reflect Leaders – Make Time to Reflect or practice mindfulness because of the hustle and bustle we place on ourselves. While packing up my board I realized there is a lot of parallels between learning to stand up paddleboard and leadership.

Here’s a list of ten lessons from stand up paddleboarding that can be applied to leading a team:
  1. Balance: Just like maintaining balance on a paddleboard, leading a team requires finding equilibrium. A leader must distribute resources, handle conflicts, and manage priorities to keep the team on track.
  2. Clear Vision: Paddleboarding requires looking ahead to maintain stability and steer in the right direction. Similarly, leading a team involves having a clear vision and setting goals to guide everyone towards success.
  3. Communication: Effective communication is vital in both paddleboarding and team leadership. A paddleboarder communicates intentions, hazards, and directions to others, while a leader must ensure effective information flow, active listening, and concise messaging within the team.
  4. Adaptability: Paddleboarders often encounter changing weather conditions or unexpected obstacles. Similarly, leaders must adapt to unforeseen circumstances, adjust strategies, and guide the team through uncertainties.
  5. Trust Building: In SUP, maintaining balance relies on trust in your equipment and capabilities. Likewise, leaders need to build trust within their team by fostering open communication, delegating responsibilities, and demonstrating reliability.
  6. Collaboration: Paddleboarding with others can improve stability and make the experience more enjoyable. Similarly, successful team leaders foster collaboration, encourage diverse perspectives, and leverage the collective strengths of team members.
  7. Decision Making: Paddleboarders make quick decisions to navigate obstacles or changing currents. Similarly, leaders must make timely decisions, analyze risks, and choose the best course of action for the team’s progress.
  8. Resilience: Falling off the paddleboard or encountering challenges is common. Both paddleboarders and leaders need resilience to bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and inspire the team to persevere.
  9. Feedback: Paddleboarders adjust their technique based on the feedback received from their body and the water. Likewise, leaders should provide constructive feedback to team members, encourage continuous improvement, and be open to receiving feedback themselves.
  10. Enjoyment: Stand-up paddleboarding is not only about reaching a destination; it’s also about enjoying the journey. Similarly, team leaders should create a positive and enjoyable work environment that fosters camaraderie, motivation, and a sense of fulfillment for team members.
Clarity and Alignment

By drawing parallels between stand-up paddleboarding and team leadership, we can gain insights into the skills and mindset required to lead effectively. Lessons and learning are all around us if we open ourselves up to it. Get outside, get in nature, and give yourself the gift of clarity and mindfulness. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, let’s go together!

Looking for a personal coach to help you strengthen your self-awareness and navigate leading people? Let’s talk! Connect with me on LinkedIn Dr. William Ramey | LinkedIn

Interested in having me facilitate a leadership or team development workshop for your organization? Reach out or checkout my website: Will Ramey Leadership & Team Dynamic Workshop

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