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Leadership Lessons I Learned from Tour Guides in Chile

I wondered what the best call to start this conversation was. It could be: From the series Leadership is not about Position, but about Behavior. Or A Tour Guide Must Be an Exponential Leader But I opted for the simplest one: The leadership lessons I learned.





While on vacation here in Chile, one of the things that most enchanted me was the service provided by some tour guides. Of course, as with all professions, there are those who do their jobs well and those who delight. And it is about the latter that I want to talk. For these professionals there is a different initial challenge: they do not have a fixed team, but a different team every day. But, like all leaders, they need to do a service that is effective, with affection. In those who enchanted me, who were exponential leaders, I noticed 5 characteristics in common, which I take the opportunity to propose a reflection on our leadership.


1. They love what they do. And they show in their words and attitudes that they found their PURPOSE when carrying out this work. And you, as a leader, have you already discovered your purpose, why you do what you do, and tell your employees? Better, does it live?


2. They are prepared and know what they are doing: information (tourist itinerary, curiosities and what only he will talk about), techniques, group dynamics, etc. Have you been PREPARED to be this new leader that the market and your team expect: STRATEGIC, INFLUENCER AND PRODUCTIVE?


3. They know how to communicate very well and create connection: the tourist's language, body language and paralanguage (tone, pitch and speed for motivation). Paralanguage is the emoji of the voice. The connection was created by interest in your name, place of origin, football team, reason for travel, day you arrived and left, tours already taken, different foods and drinks, etc. The highlight is that this information was used in other moments of the conversation, during the tour. And you, have you shown a GENUINE INTEREST in your collaborator? What do you know and know about him? Or for you, the important thing is how much it yields, produces? People are not numbers and when they see that their personal life can be connected with their professional life, they feel happier and belong to that team. BELONGING is one of the needs of human beings.


4. They do more than expected: It's not about delivering what was promised, which every worker should do. It's the bare minimum. It's about GOING BEYOND, doing something that wasn't agreed, but that serves to charm, retain and make you engage. In their case, the more tours you hire through the company, the more productivity and profitability there will be. What have you, as a leader, done to make your employees see that you recognized their performance. Remember: REWARD is different from RECOGNITION. Reward is expected, promised. Recognition is when you accompany him and recognize the development, the effort of the professional.


5. They go out of their way to make the environment pleasant, non-toxic. Maybe, you're thinking: this is easy. They're all walking. I have to tell you it's not reality. It has a group of unknown people with different cultures and customs. And, many times, adults are the same as children (or worse). I saw an adult who was not satisfied with the height of the snow, because he expected it to be higher, sulk and say: “For me, I'll come back now”. And we still had 2 more tourist sites scheduled. The challenge, from there, was to bring a new modification, a new look to the activity and not let the discontent, discouragement of one infect more people in the group. And you leader, what actions have you taken to make the work environment healthy, that offers psychological safety, in which people feel welcomed and have quality of life in the corporate environment?


Our!! Thinking like this, the challenge to be an exponential leader is great, but you can prepare for it. Start by evaluating your leadership for the 5 items above and choose at least 1 that needs more attention. This is how we move forward.



Édila Souza is an Executive Educator and columnist for Gente Mais Portal.

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