Leadership 101

Dear all,

my first year as a Cross Border has officially come to an end about a month ago and I am already fully involved in the day to day business of my new department while working on new projects and new tasks. However, before I will introduce you to the Operational Excellence department and my role for the next 12 months of my new assignment, I would like to take a moment and look back at the Cross Border Leadership Training that took place a few weeks ago.

As most of you know by now, the ultimate goal of the Cross Border program is to help as well as to enable us to develop broad managerial skills. A big part of that process is the development of leadership skills as both management and leadership must go hand in hand. They are not the same of course, but they are intrinsically tied to each other. For this reason, all Cross Border trainees got together for a week-long leadership training in Schmitten, Germany, this summer.

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It was a week full of fun – as always when all trainees get together – but also of hard work. We learned a lot about credibility, inspiration as well as empowerment and, last but not least, ourselves. Throughout the week, we underwent a mix of theoretical as well as practical training sessions. One of the toughest exercises, and the one that still resonates most with me, was advertised as ‘Walk the Talk’. During this session, each trainee had to go on a couple of walks with fellow trainees.

The task during this particular exercise was to point out one weakness of the other person while not coming across as rude or offensive – serving constructive criticism was key. All I can say is that this exercise was much harder than it might sound at first. Honestly pointing out a weakness of someone with the objective of encouraging the person to further develop in that particular area is much easier said than done. In the end, however, it was a good learning experience and a real eye-opener.

Another highlight of the week was the discussion with two colleagues from the management team about the meaning of leadership and the trend of the current market as well as the future strategy of the company. As always, it was a great to hear firsthand about experiences from professionals that already went through the same development process over the course of their respective career that we as Cross Border trainees are currently going through.

All in all, it was a great week and an opportunity to get together with everybody for a second time after the annual Cross Border Development Conference in November last year . At the same moment, however, it was sad to say goodbye to everyone after only five days of being reunited. Being part of such an international graduate program makes it difficult to regularly meet up with everybody due to the sheer distances between each and every one of us. As a result, these conferences and gatherings are cherished even more.

In my next blog entry, I will introduce you to my new department and give you an overview of what to expect during my second assignment as a Cross Border trainee. I hope to see you around!

Simon

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