During the ongoing KOA Convention & Expo 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada, keynote speaker Ryan Leak engaged the audience with a dynamic presentation on self-leadership, emphasizing the importance of leading oneself to inspire others.
Known for his innovative approach to leadership and personal development, he highlighted the loneliness often experienced at the top of the leadership hierarchy and underscored the challenges leaders face in self-navigation.
Leak, a best-selling author, executive coach, and transformational speaker, talked around the topic “Self-Leadership: 7 Tools to Help You Lead Yourself Better & Inspire Others,” as he delved into the often overlooked aspect of leadership: self-guidance.
The presentation revolved around seven pivotal questions that he believes every leader should contemplate to elevate their personal and professional growth.
Defining Personal Success
Leak began by inviting leaders to define their version of success, as he shared personal anecdotes to illustrate how the definition of success can vary greatly depending on one’s background and experiences.
“For you and me, success is often determined by the circle we grew up in,” he explained. “So depending on where you grew up, that’s where you got your definition of success.”
He emphasized that success should not be a mere reflection of societal or external expectations but should emanate from one’s own values and aspirations.
Understanding Impact on Others
The second tool Leak discussed was self-reflection on the impact of one’s leadership on others, urging leaders to consider how they are perceived by those they lead, whether in terms of decision-making, emotional reactions, or communication style.
“But your definition of success can also be defined by who you want to impact,” he elaborated. “When you start bringing people into it changes your definition of success, because now there is a person I would like to impact.”
“There are families that I would like to impact. There are communities that I would like to impact,” he continued. “Perhaps the person that you want to impact the most is maybe somebody in your family.”
Leak’s third point focused on the importance of always seeking ways to improve. He challenged leaders to not only ask themselves how they could get better but also to seek feedback from colleagues and teams.
“I know I’ve done some things well in life. However, can it get better?” he asked. “As good as we all are, as educated as we all are, like, we can always get better and doesn’t always have to be personal.”
“Sometimes it’s, how can I get better? Sometimes it’s, how can it get better? How can we get better? How can the reservations in that whole process… get better? How can we add more technology?”
This process, according to Leak, transforms potential criticism into constructive guidance and fosters a culture of continuous improvement.
Generosity in Leadership
The fourth tool emphasized the value of giving credit to others. Leak highlighted the importance of acknowledging and appreciating the contributions of team members. By shifting the focus from self to others, leaders can foster a more collaborative and supportive work environment.
“Question number four that I think is vitally important to be asking ourselves to go to the next level is what credit can I give away,” he asked “This is what I call the team player question: What credit can I give away?”
“When things are going well, everyone raises their hand to say, well, things are going well because I’m here,” he explained, saying “I want to encourage you to be the leader that actually looks for ways to value the people that sometimes may go undervalue.”
Supporting Others’ Dreams
Leak urged leaders to invest in the dreams and aspirations of their team members. He suggested that great leadership extends beyond achieving business goals to include nurturing and supporting the personal and professional growth of others.
“You are building a great business, but beyond building a great business, great leaders are trying to build great people,” he highlighted. “You’re not just here to help my dreams happen; I’m (as a leader) here to serve you (members), which is what we call servant leadership.”
Finding Joy and Gratitude
The sixth tool focused on enjoying leadership and life in general. Leak advocated for a positive attitude and gratitude, irrespective of circumstances, as he suggested that a grateful leader who enjoys their role is more likely to inspire and motivate others.
“Our level of gratitude determines our level of enjoyment. It’s not if it’s ideal; it’s if you’re grateful for it,” he explained. “Your team may not be ideal, and they may be driving you crazy..But guess what? It’s the team you got; you might as well be grateful for them.”
Embracing Possibilities and Overcoming Fear of Failure
Lastly, Leak tackled the fear of failure. He encouraged leaders to ask themselves what they would do if they knew they couldn’t fail, urging them to pursue their goals and aspirations without fear.
“How many goals, how many dreams, have you talked yourself out of that,” Leak asked, explaining, “You never even spoke out loud out of fear of what other people would think about it.”
By sharing his personal story of attempting to enter the NBA, he illustrated the power of embracing potential failure as a stepping stone to success, asking himself, “How do you know that you’re going to fail unless you actually try?”
The convention served as an ideal platform for Leak’s insights, resonating with the audience’s quest for effective leadership strategies. His emphasis on self-leadership as a cornerstone for inspiring others struck a chord, offering a fresh perspective on leadership dynamics.
Ryan Leak’s principles of self-leadership, as presented at the KOA Convention & Expo, offer valuable insights for the camping and outdoor hospitality industry, encompassing both management and staff.
By encouraging a leadership approach that emphasizes personal success aligned with team and environmental values, understanding the impact of decisions on others, and fostering continuous improvement, these principles can enhance customer experiences and operational efficiency.
In an industry that thrives on customer satisfaction and sustainability, adopting these practices at all levels can lead to more cohesive teams, innovative problem-solving, and a stronger, more positive brand image. This approach not only benefits individual leaders and their teams but also contributes to the overall health and growth of the industry.
About KOA Convention
The KOA Convention and Expo is an annual event that brings together professionals and leaders from the outdoor hospitality industry to discuss trends, challenges, and innovations in leadership and business management.
The event, dedicated to KOA franchisees, is known for featuring prominent speakers who provide valuable insights into various aspects of professional development and organizational growth.