This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 Leadership Columbia kick-off retreat. Despite the heavy snowfall causing a last minute relocation, the weekend was very successful.
I met some great leaders this weekend. I was impressed with my classmates who were excited about growing their own leadership skills, learning more about Columbia and discovering how they could apply their specific gifts and talents to make Columbia a better place for us all.
The sessions were lead by my boss, Tony Richards, who masterfully directed us through some self-assessments and brought to light the strengths and weaknesses within each of our own personalities. I think what I enjoyed most was the exploration of different personality traits that made each of us uniquely human. It was refreshing to feel that it was "okay to be me" and "okay to be you."
One of the most significant things I learned this weekend was that each of us has gold inside. Developing that gold doesn't necessarily mean changing who we are. Instead, we must first be aware of our personality traits and then learn to adapt them to the situation - turning up the qualities that may be too low and turning down the qualities that may be too high, respectively.
The insight provided this weekend will no doubt foster a continual self-awareness in all of us that will help us to become better leaders. This training will also help us recognize the traits in others which will allow us not only to be more tolerant but more importantly, to better understand one another and consequently improve our relationships. We will also be more equipped to inspire others to become the leaders they, too, want to become.