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leadership lessons from fishingAs I cast the fishing line again and again into the incoming tide (I’m not about to win any angler prizes), it dawned on me there were leadership lessons to be learned from fishing.

Holy smokes!

I married into a clan with a rich heritage of fishing trips and tall tales about the elusive yet huge one that got away. Over the years I tolerated the fishing outings as I know Hubby did with the cultural outings and new restaurant adventures I favor.

Fishing usually finds me on mental autopilot, assessing what’s on my ‘to do’ list.

Why this fishing outing took on a deeper significance, I haven’t a clue yet I’m grateful for the epiphany.

As I watched everyone that day, a few insights became clear.

Leadership lessons from fishing (of all places!)

Every cast is an opportunity filled with promise and potentialthis time I’ll catch the big one. A single cast that didn’t return a fish wasn’t a failure. It simply meant you needed to try again (and again and again for me!). Consider how this optimistic attitude could improve many workplaces if leaders allowed room for the learnings that come with failure.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” ~Janet Fitch

Your catch is everyone’s prize. The word of someone having “a fish on” quickly spreads with your fellow fisher-people offering encouragement and advice as you reel in. There are “oohs” and “ahs” when the fish is finally landed. The spirit of community from those you know—and those you don’t—is palpable, and positively infectious. It’s almost as if everyone there had a hand in catching the fish. Think how that shared spirit of accomplishment could transform a team.

“Each of us must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good.  We are a community.  Our individual Fates are linked; our futures intertwined; and if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit together, ‘We can move mountains.'”  ~Jimmy Carter

My lessons are yours, and yours are mine. The kind of bait or lure used to land a big one (and even a small fish) is shared, not viewed as some industrial secret to be hoarded or closely guarded. (To be sure, some fishing captains do take to their grave the coordinates of a particularly rich and always fruitful fishing hole.) Tips, pointers and advice are freely shared, and cordially received. Imagine a work place where feedback is constructively, promptly and lovingly given, and warmly welcomed and heeded. How productive such an organization would be!

“One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.”  ~Franklin Thomas

Off to share the blackened redfish!

What unlikely places have you picked up a leadership lesson or two?

Image source before quote:  Gratisography