Truly exceptional leaders learn from experience. They take what's happened, look deeply at it, identify important lessons and adapt their future behavior based on what they've learned. Being able to reflect on how we lead is critical to growing as a leader. Frederick the Great said "What good is experience if you do not reflect?"
As summer camp leaders we are regularly confronted with situations in which we must exercise leadership. Whether it be dealing with a staff member, responding to an emergency or handling a logistical problem at camp, we all will be required to lead. How do we turn those moments of leadership into learning opportunities?
This week our camp had a very challenging situation which required my leadership. After the event was over, the natural reaction was to feel a sense of relief, put the situation behind me and move on. To grow as a leader, however, I need to spend time reflecting on my leadership.
Questions I need to ask include:
- Overall, was my leadership effective? Why/Why not?
- What leadership style did I use and was it the best choice? Why/why not?
- How did those I lead respond to my leadership? Would I liked to have had a different response?
- Did my leadership help strengthen our organization in the future? Why/Why not?
- Did my leadership help build the capability of our staff? Why/Why not?
- If I had to do it over again, what would I do differently?
Taking a hard, reflective look at my leadership allows me to see areas where I can grow and strengths I need to further cultivate. It gives me the opportunity to grow as a leader and be better prepared next time I face a challenging leadership situation.
Welcome to the Summer Camp Leadership blog. For those of us who lead summer camps, making a positive difference in the lives of young people is our passion. Turning that passion into a reality, however, takes more than the ability to lead songs, teach archery or plan craft projects. Creating camp experiences that truly transform lives takes leadership. Leadership that creates a vision for the future, leadership that inspires and engages others, leadership that remains focused and stays the course. My hope is through this blog you'll find ideas, inspiration and tools to help you be a great summer camp leader.