BLC Fellows rowing retreat: Balance in your crew

  • May 4, 2018
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 2 minute read

The Bauer Leadership Fellows Program provides experiential leadership development for team leaders who lead CEL practicum teams. Recently, the BLC fellows had the opportunity to go to Creve Coeur Lake for a leadership development rowing retreat. BLC fellows reflect back on what they took away from the rowing experience.

Place Trust in the Team

BLC fellow Elizabeth Hailand, MBA ’19, described how effectiveness in crew widely paralleled effectiveness in team leadership. Like a team, a crew requires trust in all members to stay afloat. As rowing is a coordinated team activity, if one crew member is out of sync, the entire team is put at a disadvantage. Trust in each other is vital to rowing an effective boat.

Lead by Listening

Trusting the team also means allowing others to naturally take the lead. To keep the boat balanced, rowers with more practice stepped forward. BLC fellow Perri Goldberg, MBA ’18, reflected how the rowing retreat pushed natural leaders to listen, and allowed those with more experience to take the lead. This was a reminder to those in charge not to get caught up in their own status, but focus on the team vision.

Understand How to Motivate Your Team

Success in rowing is also attributed to effectiveness in coaching. As rowing is an exhausting workout, having the right motivation is essential. A fellow shared how the coach would sometimes “cold call” a single member of the boat to row.

While this fellow enjoyed this type of personal coaching, they learned that it did not suit all of their crew members. This helped the fellow appreciate the importance of a leader to understand the team dynamics. A strong leader knows how to motivate and encourage each individual team member, while not compromising the project goal.

Apart from proving its worth as a physically strenuous workout, the Creve Coeur rowing retreat was a great opportunity to reflect first hand on leadership values and implementation. As one fellow shared after the rowing experience, since January, they have grown as leaders from driving meetings to now acting as facilitators of great and healthy content within meetings.

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Washington University in Saint Louis

WashU Olin Business School

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