Those long summer days filled with Capture the Flag, Tug of War, and scavenger hunts…time spent away from home, meeting new people, sharing goodies from home and telling ghost stories after lights out…who knew all that fun was setting the stage for our careers? Whether we knew it or not, that summer fun was all about personal development and beginning to develop emotional intelligence.
Certainly, we learned a lot about ourselves at summer camp—what our strengths were, where we needed to grow, and how others see us. We developed greater independence and confidence. Beyond that, we learned the people skills, teamwork, and collaboration that help us succeed as adults in the workplace. Our summer camp experience was as much about how we interacted with others as it was about what we did on our own. And, our effectiveness as a professional in the workplace is as much about our ability to work with and influence others as it is about individual excellence.
10 Rules from Summer Camp to Apply at Work:
- Pull together. We are stronger and achieve more together. Together we can do great things!
- Play fair. Share. Take turns. Show others respect, and you will be respected.
- Do your share. Teams share the burden and the blame, even better, we share the credit and the success!
- It takes all kinds. Leverage everyone’s strengths and contributions. Talent wins games; teamwork makes champions.
- Identify and overcome challenges. Teamwork is about overcoming challenges and solving problems as much as reaching goals. Communication and support help us all get to the finish line.
- Be a secret keeper. As with respect, trust is part of the foundation of teamwork. No one likes –or trusts-- a tattletale.
- Cooperate and appreciate diversity. Understanding others will take us a long way towards success. Harmony comes from singing different notes—not the same tune. Discover unique strengths and skill sets and how they can help meet team goals.
- Leadership is given not taken. Leaders aren’t those who talk the loudest or give orders. Leadership is about being an example, having a vision of what is possible and encouraging others to help them succeed.
- Get on the same page. Set clear goals and have a plan. Everyone needs to have input into and be committed to where we are going and how we are going to get there.
- Embrace fun. Time flies when you are having fun…AND we learn more and get more done.
Summer camp is a great way to prepare for the realities of working with other people. We become aware of ourselves, of others and of group dynamics. We learn to be responsible as a member of a team and to communicate with different styles. You hear a lot about the need for emotional intelligence these days—this is one place it begins.