connect, grow & thrive.

The power of team work

This month we are celebrating the LiLi Centre’s second anniversary. The centre has gone from strength to strength and now boasts over 350 adult members from 45 nationalities. We run a variety of programmes and each day brings a new demographic group to the centre.

None of this would have been possible without the dedication of our volunteers, whether they have given a couple of hours, days or month’s worth of volunteering, each one of them has contributed to the success of the centre.

I am at the head of three organisations (Living in Luzern, LiLi Centre and the Lucerne World Theatre Company) and am a co-founder a further four; JIFF, SIVO, HSK Lucerne English School and, most recently, the Swiss Skills Academy. All of these organisations are successful and on a path of continued growth but even superwoman would find it impossible to run all of these and have a family life were it not for team work.

I have never felt comfortable in a hierarchical structure and much prefer meeting people where their strengths and passion lie, and then fostering their talents in the role that they feel most comfortable in.

My personal strength is the ability to enable others in their chosen paths. If I look at each team, each team leader is ideally suited for that role. Andrew is an events manager and he is doing a great job coordinating all our events and putting structure into place for the LiLi Centre. Joanna is an English teach and loves working with kids, she was a natural choice for the HSK school. Lucy, one of our latest recruits, used to work in publishing so asking her to edit the magazine was a no brainer. On the way she has now been able to set up her own editing company. The list goes on.

Of course, just shoving someone into a role is not going to work. You need to be prepared to invest your time in holding their hand and easing them in to their role. The theatre group is a perfect example. The members of the theatre group come from all over the world and have a varying level of theatrical knowledge. Some have been practicing theatre for years and others have just begun. My goal in this group is to unleash everyone’s creativity. This can be quite scary for some. Recently we performed four plays. I directed one, the other three were a collaborative work between various members. It was so rewarding to see how they had been able to experiment and express themselves and the evening was certainly a lot richer for it.

As a team leader you have to be prepared to acknowledge that your way is not the only way, that there are people who can do things better than you but that they will be looking to you for guidance and you have to be prepared to step in and take action when required.

As a volunteer it makes sense to offer your help in the field you are most comfortable or knowledgeable in, but it can also be the opportunity to learn new skills.

There are still so many things that can be done to improve our path to integration and at the centre we are always on the lookout for people who feel passionate about this topic. So feel free to drop us a line or come by the centre to see if there is a way that you can join one of our teams or whether we can help you to enable your dream.

Be sure to come by the centre on June 23 to help us celebrate our second anniversary. you can find out more at our website.

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Living in Luzern organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

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