The most memorable aspect of the programme was when we took turns in leading team exercises and worked together in survival mode. For example, I led our team through a challenge to navigate a sinking boat across a real water way.

The final challenge was to stand in an enclosure – while being observed by your team – and have a horse come to you by being relaxed and open. As you managed your emotions, it reacted positively to you (as a leader) and this was just one of many vulnerable moments that day.

It was intense, but our experiences and close working relationships brought out a strong bond between us. There were other vulnerable moments, and although we had a competitive spirit, these feelings brought us even closer together.

The special dynamic was created by a diversity of personalities and cultures, and a collective sense of humour. Over dinner each night, we were in a bubble of team spirit and laughter – even doing the conga one evening. Our unique team connection was recognised by the Board for camaraderie and teamplay.

We formed an unbreakable bond, and – no matter what – we will always be there for one another. I would say that it was one of the best leadership developments I’ve ever experienced.

I learnt that as a leader it’s OK to be vulnerable and to talk about it, because it invites others to be open and connect with you. In addition, empathy and vulnerability are critical to great leadership, irrespective of the country or context.

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