Let’s say your tour of duty in a student leadership role is like being the Captain of a brand new 5,000 passenger cruise ship. It’s your first cruise and the pressure to make this journey memorable is nothing short of intense. Not only are the passengers depending on you to give them the cruise of a lifetime, but so are the crew, officers and the corporate folks in the home office that just invested millions of dollars in your vessel. Think about that for a minute… now that’s pressure!!
What would you do? What tools would you use to make sure that your ship is a flawless and tightly run operation right from the start? Understanding that a Captain is nothing short of a leader with epilates, you summon 5 Leadership Tools that are guaranteed to make your ship the envy of the entire fleet.
Tool #1 – You Gotta Have a Plan
Any Captain has to know exactly how they are going to get from “A” to “Z”. As a Captain, you need to create a very easy goal that will be attained. The rest of your journey needs to have the exact steps that it will take for you to get to your goal. This is what makes it real. A leader needs to show that they not only have a logical plan, but also how this plan will be realized. A goal isn’t a goal unless it can be realized. It’s like a cruise never getting to the final port. Knowing how, under your leadership, exactly how everyone will get there motivates those you lead to take the journey with you.
Tool #2 – Lead With Fun!
Find me a cruise that isn’t fun and I’ll show you passengers that wished they’d stayed at home! Effective leaders are those that lead with an energy of fun. To do that you need to know who your audience is and what they can bare in the name of fun. Cruise ship Captains know that if they approach things with fun, not only does the day go faster, but everyone has a great time following their lead. The end result? The job gets done in an efficient and light-hearted way that makes it so much easier when a Captain needs to create the same motivation on the very next cruise. It’s the difference between a cloudy, dull day or a day full of warm enticing sun with nothing but vibrant blue skies ahead.
Tool #3 – Always Keep Your Word
If your ship is going to call at Barbados Wednesday at 7am, then you better live up to your word. Get the job done. Your reputation depends on it. It’s what’s expected of you. Trust can’t be built if you don’t live up to what you’ve promised. There’s nothing worse than a leader who just says things to say things and never follows up and follows through. As a leader you need to mean what you say and say what you mean.
Tool #4 – Show ‘em You Care, Every Step of the Way
A Captain that doesn’t care may as well be on a sinking ship. If you care about the people you are leading, show them so. This goes a long way to building trust and an energy of positivity. Your heart’s gotta be in it because if you don’t care, how can you expect anyone else to? Motivation is the key and it starts with caring about who you are, who you serve and the task at hand.
Tool #5 – Gratitude IS Attitude
Any Captain always knows that they couldn’t do it without their crew. It’s the difference between sitting at the head of the table or a round table with your crew. Your crew is your team. As a leader, always thank them for the hard work they do as they follow your lead. It’s a wonderful attitude to have. Rewarding your team with praise makes them want to sail with you over and over.
So there you have it. No, it’s not rocket science but putting these simple but effective Leadership Tools into place on your particular cruise all but guarantees smooth seas ahead, which is what taking a cruise through life is all about!
Motivational Speaker Robert Landau spent a decade of his life as a Cruise Director sailing the world and meeting people from all cultures and all walks of life. In his keynotes, interactive programs and writings Robert encourages college students, professionals and everyday people to live using his three elements of a successful cruise by; 1) having fun, 2) planning your destinations and 3) making sure you're safe in case the waters get rough. Robert is available to keynote campus events or deliver workshops for your students and staff.