Travel involves being thrown into changing environments that you’ve not grown up with. The more you travel, you will notice that it shapes your personality, teaches you adaptability and, my favourite of all, diversity of thought.
Caveat: Don’t take my word as it is. Of course, not all travellers are leaders. Don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions and you will notice the level of these peoples’ personality change, adaptability and diversity of thought, are also not as developed at the same level as the ones’ that are leaders.
How Travelling can impact your leadership
1) Resourceful: Finding ways to succeed outside your comfort zone
When you find yourself in an environment completely different from yours, a foreign culture, you instinctively learn to establish new connections and develop new resources. It is human nature to want to connect with others to thrive towards survival, in our case here, success.
Travelling abroad and also living abroad on 3 completely different continents taught me to find tools, personal and professional, to lead my life, my team, my pack, no matter where I was.
It is one challenge to succeed within the comfortable setting of your organization at home, but it will be a lot more challenging to do so in an unfamiliar environment that is not similar to your home. Leaving that comfort zone will teach you the importance to pave your way and lead in a direction that inspires confidence within your team members or organization. With that experience and leadership in hand, you will quickly realize how you can influence and remind others of how well surrounded they are and to also step out of their own comfort zones.
2) Adaptability: Improving your problem-solving capability
I’ve always been a resourceful person, curious, that likes to learn new skills by myself. Not everyone is like that. When you travel, you will have to make many choices and I can assure you that living and travelling overseas will force you to deal with situations you would never have faced back home which will unlock your adaptability and to become resourceful. That adaptation will come from challenges from language barriers, different customs/manners and many other cultural differences.
Adaptability will occur as much in your personal life than your professional one. You will see quickly that personality or team frictions at work will be likely to be handled differently than how you would do it at home. This usually happens quite often when people work closely together so you better be ready for it and adapt changes at all levels. As a leader, you will always face challenges and will need to leverage your adaptability for everything from how to integrate a new team member to how to solve a problem as a team. Living abroad will teach you how to have more perspective, manage and welcome change smoothly., all good things to be better at decision making and problem-solving.
3) Connecting through strong communication skills
When people connect with each other and find themselves on the same page, things always work easier but are also more fun. As a leader, you are often in charge of creating these connections between people and your team. Hence to be a good leader, communication skills such as verbal, body language and even writing are very important. With travel, you get the opportunity to overcome language barriers and different communication customs. All of these challenges will result in you being better to perform your responsibilities as a leader in connecting people together in the goal to achieve a common result.
4) Perspective leads to more opportunities
Foreign experience all around the world has taught and brought me experiences that translated into business growth opportunities. By going to places where non-locals go, it gave me the opportunity to decipher the demands and customs, in addition to better-understanding people that brands try to capture.
Travel will give you perspective. It will help you to better welcome and elaborate within a diversity of thought. All cultures have their own approaches to solving business problems and achieving success.
In experiencing the many different ways there are to accomplish the same goal helped me open my mind to new ways of thinking. Travel sure gave me an edge and be a leader in what I do.
Whether you travel for personal reasons, live abroad or travel for business, I urge you to take advantage of every opportunity to experience different ways of living and working. That gain of perspective on life and business from different countries around the world will help you to develop a creative thought-process, adapt to change quickly and respond effectively to the challenges of our diverse world.
What do you think? Has travel affected you in any of these 4 ways and have you seen any continuous improvement the more you travel? I still learn every day and I would like to hear about how you have found ways to improve your leadership if it isn’t through travel and living abroad!