Summer is often a time of recouping, taking it easy, and vacationing. However, summer can be an amazing time to strengthen your leadership within your team and family. Simply put, leaders are never not leading; they have a knack for being a catalyst even as the long summer days drag on. Here are five ways you can enjoy your summer and strengthen your leadership, all while building deeper relationships with the people who are important to you.
1. Grow Your Depth of Knowledge
During my days in the military, some of the best leaders I worked for would often assign a book each month for the entire team read through together. This was usually some kind of leadership book, but they would mix in a fictional book every now and then to enhance our creativity. We would have weekly discussions to drive home the key points, and everyone participated in the conversations. This can also work well at home as you can include your wife and kids. Be sure to get everyone involved in choosing the book each month to keep them interested.
2. Random Surprise Lunches
Select three of your team members randomly one day every couple weeks and take them out to lunch with one rule; you cannot discuss business! To make the conversation interesting put a variety of fun questions in a jar, and take turns drawing questions to answer. An alternative to taking team members out to lunch can be to buy pizza or grill out one day for your entire team. Do this for no other reason but to say “thanks!” You can also surprise your family with lunch on occasion; trust me, it will make their day!
3. Community Service Projects
Contact your local city and find out what kind of service projects are available for your team to take on. This can be anything from mowing the yards of elderly or deployed service members, to cleaning up a local park, or picking up trash along side a road. The point is to serve your community together as a team. You can also involve all your family members to show the importance of serving in the local community. You may have to split up your team depending on how far apart your team lives from each other. Local churches are usually involved in community projects as well, so they may be a great place to start.
4. Organize an Outdoor Adventure
Take your kids and three other guys (and their kids) on an outdoor adventure of some kind. This can be anything from a hike to a canoe trip, to an overnight camping trip. The point is to spend quality time with your kids and other guys. And if I may, unplug from the high-tech world we are so immersed in, including silencing your phones.
5. Initiate a Neighborhood Gathering
This can be a street or block party, a neighborhood cookout, or a simple meet & greet one evening. The whole idea here is to meet with the people who live all around you and to get to know each other a little better. In our busy lives, we often neglect the people closest to us the most. If most of us are honest, we probably hardly know the people who live right across the street from us.
The one thing all these events needs is someone to be willing to take the first step to initiate them; they need a leader! Once the ball is set in motion, these events can all build deeper relationships within your team and family. After all, when you peel away all the responsibilities of a leader, the most important trait of a true leader is caring enough to get to know the people around you on a deeper level. I challenge you to lead the way the remainder of this summer, and be the men your organization, your community, and your family needs.
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