A decade ago, the word manager would conjure up an image of an intimidating authoritarian figure who has your entire career in the palm of her hand. But the waves of change that...
A decade ago, the word manager would conjure up an image of an intimidating authoritarian figure who has your entire career in the palm of her hand. But the waves of change that swept the decade has led companies to put down some walls to make way for a flat and collaborative organizational structure.
The drift toward a more democratized style of leadership easily caught on among startups and small companies. But even a tech-oriented company built on the backs of young, dynamic people still grapple with what leadership styles actually work. Surely, it goes beyond candid town hall meetings, salad bars, and flexible work arrangements.
This is what the Growth Rocket management team came to learn during a two-day leadership retreat. It was held last February 6 to 7 at a charming farm B&B in Santa Ana, Pampanga.
Before I get to the details, you’re probably wondering: what is a leadership retreat?
It’s basically an offsite management training program that can be designed to accomplish a variety of outcomes. The goal could be as simple as improving relationships or as complex as producing clear and detailed action plans for a specific problem.
Our facilitator took it upon himself to interview our management team prior to the retreat so he can customize the syllabus based on our specific challenges, needs, and objectives as leaders. But the focus was mostly on learning management frameworks and how we can apply them at work, with a bit of fun and competition thrown in.
There is no one absolute style of leadership. Diversity can be seen even in a small management committee. And while we were well aware that we follow different approaches, our facilitator shed light on which category our style falls under. Then we discussed the various ways to deal with team members based on their respective personality types and motivations. In the end, we all agreed that the biggest challenge with leadership is to build enough influence to inspire and motivate others. But we’re now armed with new, practical learnings which we’re eager to apply at work and beyond.
One of the biggest advantages of an offsite management retreat is that it allows participants to step away from the chaos of a busy workplace and gain fresh new perspectives. Managers get to uncover differences among teams that cause operational silos and find ways to address them. We zoomed in on company-wide teamwork and how reinforcing it is most essential for our company. We were then huddled up in groups to come up with engagement initiatives that would encourage cross-departmental collaboration. Teamwork at this scale may sound like a moonshot goal, but as managers, it is our job to make sure everyone feels involved and part of a bigger purpose.
Reinforcing cross-departmental teamwork is a major step toward building shared ownership. Although each has its unique function and goals, managers can get everyone on the same page through effective and consistent communication. In a flat organization where there are many interdependencies and accountability moves back and forth, teamwork has to be ingrained and inherent. And this will only be possible if managers can guide their members out of their silos to work together with the bigger group.
We took advantage of the quiet and isolated setting to improve our relationship as fellow managers—an effortless task thanks to our close-knit culture in the office. The fun and relaxed environment allowed us to discuss topics beyond work and get to know each other on a deeper level. Some people deem this unnecessary, but getting on with the people you work with makes the office a better place to be. Not only that, it can have an impact on job satisfaction, skill development, morale, and even the team’s overall happiness. It’s also a key ingredient for teamwork.
Management retreats are a worthy expense for companies that wish to nurture great leaders and ensure alignment among different teams. A successful two-day event can help build a hesitant manager’s confidence and help a siloed team see the bigger picture, among other benefits. We’re excited to see how this memorable leadership workshop/mini-vacation can do for our company.
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