With participants from Latvia, Moldova, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Spain, and The Netherlands I attended the Leadership training “Up We Go” in the countryside of Latvia. The training was about improving and strengthening our leadership skills in a team.

The training center “Open Sense” in Bērzaune was the perfect location: surrounded by nature, quietness, a cosy house with a fireplace. Where else can you get thát close to the inner you? In the end, leadership is about self-awareness, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and more important, how to cope with them. And last but not least, leadership is about succeeding as a team by understanding and inspiring each other. Sharing is caring. Literally.

On the first day we had to define our personal goals related to leadership. In a playful way we practiced our listening skills, making eye contact, giving and receiving constructive feedback, and being a trustworthy team member. All participants were given the opportunity to reach their personal goals.

The name “Up We Go” was related to both the development of our leadership skills and our physical exercises in the low rope and high rope park close to our location. This was the place where we could practice how to anticipate on the behaviour of team members in stressful circumstances.

I found it very interesting to see how individuals with different (cultural) backgrounds who did not know each other, cooperated as a group. It was nice to see that you can reach so much more with trust. Believing in the quality of your team is important to succeed as a leader. To underline that: on day 5 we had to complete a task in silence without knowing we would be given a second attempt in which we were allowed to speak. Not surprisingly it took less time to succeed our first attempt, in silence.

Apart from all the hard work, there was plenty of time to relax and to have a good laugh with each other. I am grateful having experienced this wonderful week.

Marlène van den Camp