We’re conditioned from a young age to believe that the rules of life mean we need to do well in school, gain a university/college degree, get straight A’s, and work hard to finally achieve success. And living in an age where women are finally being recognised as equal to men in their capacity to lead, becoming a female leader is seen by many as one of the biggest accomplishments in life.
Though with fierce competition for leadership positions within a workplace or organization, it’s very easy to get swept up in the mindset of “I’ll travel later”, terrified that travel will leave a gaping hole in your resume; a lack of concrete experience which will see you fall behind.
Though here’s some news for you – travel may actually put you ahead. Enhancing your understanding of yourself and the world around you, here are 5 reasons why women who travel become better leaders. Because excelling as a leader “does not just entail past experience or hard skills; it also involves personality, life experiences, and everything that makes you who you are.” Mabel Lee.
Invaluable People Skills
Travel is one of the best things you can do to develop great communication skills, a crucial aspect of being a leader. A successful leader interacts and communicates well with others, relates to other people, and works well with those of all different backgrounds. There is no doubt about it, international travel teaches an appreciation of culture and respect for other races, backgrounds, opinions and thoughts, and these translate into people skills which are essential for a successful leadership.
The opportunity to meet with those from all over the globe exposes you to different cultures, languages and ways of life, and in our current global society, it is incredibly important that a leader be exposed to these multicultural experiences.
A leader who understands that “different” does not necessarily mean “wrong”, that strange cultures should be explored and not judged, who keeps open mind to new perspectives and is willing to listen, understand and communicate with others; this is a leader who will go far.
Time Management & Organization
Anyone who has ever traveled will tell you that the secret to getting the most out of a trip is an effective use of time. And while managing time while on vacation is something you may assume should come naturally, it actually takes an incredibly talented planner to maximize their time.
Think organizing multiple forms of transportation, making sure not to miss any of the city’s best attractions or exploring a whole country in a short amount of time. All of this involves careful calculation, good attention to detail, prioritization, an incredible amount of organization, and the ability to set goals.
A prospective leader who takes a career-break for travel will likely return a savvy planner, excellent at self management, and return more punctual and detail-oriented than ever before. Above all, they will know how to efficiently manage their time.
Develop Problem Solving
Travel is one of the greatest ways to develop your problem solving skills. If there is one thing international travel will teach you it is the ability to think on your feet and adapt to change. International travelers are constantly faced with new challenges, stressful situations and unknown circumstances, and the ability to react accordingly is what makes a leader great.
“You can only plan so far in advance; when you’re out there, the unexpected may happen and ruin your plans, and you’ll have to quickly shift gears and move on to Plan B. And you’ll have to do all of that in an environment that is completely unfamiliar.” Mabel Lee.
In an age where common sense is not so common, travel teaches you to survive by yourself, and imparts a sense of practical thinking and street smarts.
A traveler learns to always be observant of their surroundings, to make practical decisions in the moment, and to be ready for change. They learn good sense and sound judgement in practical situations, and can perceive, understand and judge a situation in a sensible and level headed way.
Travel Makes You Fearless
Nothing is impossible for those who have traveled the world. They have likely lived a life full of more adventure than most people dream of, and have had their mind blown wide open to a world of endless possibilities, creative thinking, and a world where anything could happen and reality can be negotiable.
They’ve likely skydived over the Swiss Alps, walked alongside mighty Elephants in Africa, or even summited the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Nothing is impossible after you travel, and this has the potential to set up a leader with the courage and determination to achieve absolutely anything they set their mind to.
So, how can organizations foster an environment of empowering women as employees? What kind of conversations can help change the future of women at work? Encourage them to travel the world. Encourage them to gain life experience. Make it known that taking a career break will not affect their chances of re-entering the workplace, and offer career opportunities upon their return.
Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.
Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.
Photo Credits: Soldiers attend women’s shura by DVIDSHUB. Sangita Training Center, Nepal by Department of Foreign Affairs. Hi-Five for International Volunteers by Meg Jerrard. English classes for displaced women by United Nations Photo.
Post Originally Appeared at http://www.mappingmegan.com/women-who-travel-are-better-leaders/